“There is an interest in ballot boxes to keep anything about the staff of the public secret,” said Professor Maley. “For example, the names of federal public servants are not public.” Perhaps the greatest benefit to politicians is that departmental officials work outside of all accountability systems that politicians and public servants must answer to. “For example, they manage compensation and staff conditions, and if employees have to complain or raise a problem, they could talk to the Department of Finance. Many members of the coalition have accused the House of Stars of being increasingly “armed” since Abbott`s time. In other words, the House of Stars has increasingly dictated who would or would not work for individual ministers, rather than letting ministers decide on their own staff. The employment contract is signed with the Ministry of Finance and therefore with the Commonwealth of Australia. “But everything is very mysterious. We do not even know who is on this committee. We do not know when they will meet, and we do not know what they are doing. “The Members of Parliament (staff) Act regulates the employment of ministerial staff. But the real dilemma with the law is that employees don`t exist in constitutional theory, so they`re really established as a substitute for their ministers,” said Anne Tiernan, a professor of politics at Griffith University. It`s within the government. As far as I know, the Prime Minister`s Chief of Staff presides. But the responsibility of this body is not clear. Brittany Higgins is not the first to describe a dangerous culture of employment in Parliament.
In the case of Brittany Higgins, for example, there is no way to call Linda Reynolds` Chief of Staff before a Senate inquiry to find out what she said and did. “The Government Staffing Committee is a pretty mysterious body,” said Dr Maria Maley, Senior Lecturer in Politics at the Australian National University. They cannot, for example, be called before a parliamentary committee to answer questions. “The Ministry of Finance could then advise them, they could investigate these allegations. But at the end of the day, they can only present these findings and their recommendations to the parliamentarian and it would be up to the parliamentarian to act. The second difference is that MOPS contracts allow an employee to be fired at any time without giving reasons. While public servants are protected by general anti-discrimination and protection provisions of the Fair Work Act, any compensation payable is paid by the Commonwealth and not by Members of Parliament.