Statement from Noel Pearson 15 December 2016 (PDF)

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•   On  Crime  and  Corruption  Commission  complaint  
•   QLD  Audit  Office  investigation  

In   July   2016   the   Department   of   Education   and   Training   (DET)   Director-­‐General,   Jim  
Watterston,   requested   the   Queensland   Auditor-­‐General   to   undertake   a   financial  
audit  of  the  Cape  York  Aboriginal  Australian  Academy.      
Good   to   Great   Schools   Australia   (GGSA)   has   worked   with   the   Queensland   Audit  
Office   (QAO)   over   the   past   months   providing   it   with   every   assistance   so   that   the  
Auditor-­‐General  can  provide  the  facts  to  the  Queensland  Parliament.    I  am  confident  
in  the  integrity  of  the  QAO’s  conduct  of  this  process.    
I  am  bound  by  the  confidentiality  provisions  of  the  Audit  Act  and  whilst  I  have  had  
the   opportunity   to   read   and   comment   on   the   draft   report,   I   intend   to   respect   the  
relevant   legislative   provisions.   I   am   confident   that   this   audit   will   validate   GGSA’s  
statements   that   the   financial   stewardship   and   internal   controls   including  
enrolments,  are  the  responsibility  of  DET.    
I   am   confident   that   the   scurrilous   allegations   made   by   the   ABC’s   James   Thomas   of  
financial  impropriety  will  be  exposed  for  the  tabloid  muck-­‐raking  that  it  is.  
However,  it  has  now  come  to  light  that  confidential  internal  school  audits  that  were  
at   the   centre   of   the   QAO   investigation,   were   provided   to   the   ABC   under   what   a  
spokesperson  for  the  department  called  ‘informal  release’.    It  seems  that  rather  than  
‘leak’  the  correct  term  is  ‘informal  release’.  
I  am  not  going  to  engage  in  Jim  Watterston’s  game  of  leaking  or  so-­‐called  ‘informally  
releasing’  information  about  audits  into  his  own  schools.        
I  decided  yesterday  to  lodge  a  formal  complaint  with  the  Queensland  Ombudsman  
and   the   Crime   and   Corruption   Commission   in   relation   to   the   2015   Audit   Report  
matter.  The  inside  cover  of  the  Audit  report  reads:  
This is a confidential report prepared by the Internal Audit Branch,
Department of Education and Training.
The unauthorised possession, reproduction and/or discussion of the
information contained in this document is prohibited and may
result in prosecution.
If in doubt as to dealing with information arising out of this document, please
contact the Head of Internal Audit, Internal Audit
Branch, Department of Education and Training.


The  attempts  to  pin  administrative  and  financial  management  issues  onto  GGSA  has  
damaged  schools  that  are  supposed  to  be  their  responsibility.  
I   welcome   the   proper   and   ethical   release   of   information   according   to   RTI.     My  
concern   is   the   abuse   of   bureaucratic   power,   misuse   of   the   reports   and   the   distorted  
manner   in   which   select   excerpts   were   represented   for   the   purpose   of   damaging  
innocent  schools  and  organisations  supporting  those  schools.  
•   If  there  was  an  RTI  request  from  the  ABC,  why  was  GGSA  not  consulted,  as  
the  audit  reports  concerned  schools  with  which  GGSA  is  a  partner/contractor  
with  DET,  and  the  reports  made  reference  to  this?  
•   At  the  time  of  Minister  Jones’  statement  to  parliament  about  the  matter  on  
30  November  2016,  there  were  no  entries  in  the  RTI  disclosure  log  relating  to  
an   application   for   provision   of   the   audit   Reports   or   any   other  
correspondences.   The   DET   disclosure   log   was   later   updated   (including   an  
update   on   13   December   at   1:07pm),   and   now   shows   two   separate  
applications   for   the   audit  Reports  being   made   three   weeks   apart.   Both   of  
these  applications  were  withdrawn,  presumably  following  ‘informal  release’.      
•   Records   show   the   RTI   application   was   lodged   one   week   prior   to   Minister  
Jones’   interview   with   James   Thomas   and   coincidently   released   the   day   of  
Minister   Jones’   interview   with   Mr   Thomas   according   to   departmental   staff.  
The  circumstances  around  this  are  truly  extraordinary  and  need  probing.        
•   The   actions   of   DET   and   its   Director-­‐General   in   this   matter   require  
investigation  and  explanation.  
We   continue   to   make   good   progress   in   negotiations   on   the   partnership  
arrangements   for   Coen   and   Hope   Vale   schools   and   expect   to   have   an   agreement  
finalised   by   Christmas.   We   have   prepared   a   thorough   and   refined   proposal   with  
increased  clarity  around  roles  and  responsibilities  of  the  partnership.    
KERIE  HULL  0417  073  659  
JHARNA  HOGAN  0411  214  533  

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