Stuff has two articles on the resignation of Martin Matthews as Auditor-General, due to the fraud that happened in the MOT while he was CE there.
The articles are very sympathetic to Matthews. Personally I think they miss that key point, which is the Auditor-General has to be seen as beyond reproach. And while Matthews was a victim of Joanne Harrison, he also was responsible for the conduct of the overall Ministry. I blogged in May 2017 the following:
Here’s the stuff I’m concerned about:
Harrison was able to authorise payments to entities and no internal checks made about services provided
Concerns about the contracts were raised two years earlier but not acted on
Staff concerns over her recommending her husband for a role were not followed up properly
She hired a friend as a staffer who got paid for 10 months and it seems never turned up to the office
She had been investigated for fraud in Australia and the Australian Federal Police contacted the Ministry in 2014 about her and Matthews just accepted her word that the matter did not directly relate to her
In 2013 staff raised concerns that she gave out work without contracts
In total there were, off memory, eight specific complaints or warnongs about Harrison that were not acted on.
Now Stuff reports:
The report that forced former Auditor-General Martin Matthews to resign can finally be revealed by Stuff.
MPs intended it to be kept secret, but today Stuff can disclose its full contents after discovering Parliament never formally suppressed it.
But Stuff has not disclosed the full contents. They have merely quoted from it.
Surely Stuff should publish the full report, and Matthews’ response to it, so we can judge for ourselves how the claims stack up.
As I have said before many times, I think Matthews’ would be suitable for any other CE role in the public sector. But not Auditor-General, after what happened on his watch.
If he is determined to relitigate the past (as is his right) then we should demand to see the reports he has given to the media.