Public Service Commissioner resigns amid IPA questions

One of the nation’s most highly paid public servants has quit his job after being asked questions regarding his conduct and allegations of bias.
Photo by Greg Schechter via Wikimedia Commons

One of the nation’s most highly paid public servants has quit his job after being asked questions regarding his conduct and allegations of bias. John Lloyd, the Public Service Commissioner, had been appointed to the job in 2014 by the then Abbott Government but has now told to Governor General that he will be quitting his $678,000 role in August.

In his role, Mr Lloyd was the man in charge of making sure the governmental bureaucracy was complying with codes of conduct and professional standards. He has been a somewhat controversial figure due to his connections with the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA), a right-wing think tank, and his connection to the Government’s unpopular staffing at wage caps.

Earlier in the year, the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet brought forward an allegation that Mr Lloyd had breached the Code of Conduct to the watchdog for the agency, Mark Davidson, the Merit Protection Commissioner.

The department of Prime Minister and Cabinet did not make any judgements about the truth of the allegation but stated that it was serious enough to be looked at by the watchdog that ensures that the code of conduct is kept to.

When the allegation was brought up, Mr Davidson had only been acting in the role. Because the allegation was involving one of the countries’ highest paid public servants, Mr Davidson wanted to decision to be made once there was a permanent commissioner.

However, by the middle of March, Mr Davidson was still only acting in the role and so he asked a former secretary from the department whether or not it was necessary for there to be a formal investigation.

It is still unknown what the allegation actually is or who made it. Labor and the trade unions have been very outspoken against Mr Lloyd’s ongoing relationship with the IPA.

Prior to being appointed to his role, Mr Lloyd had been the director of work reform and productivity at the IPA. He has continually insisted that his correspondence with the think-tank was appropriate despite Labor pressing him on the issue during senate hearings.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull took the opportunity to express his gratitude to Mr Lloyd for his service. Mr Llyod’s last official day will be August 8.