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Department of Premier and Cabinet

Significant appointments

Governments should defer making significant appointments during the caretaker period. As a rule, any significant appointments to commence after election day would not be offered in the caretaker period.

Significant appointments to be offered and made after the date of dissolution or expiry are deferred until after the election. Finalisation of selection processes that have started but not completed should also be deferred until after the caretaker period.

In considering whether an appointment qualifies as ‘significant’, the agency should consult with the Head of the State Service, and consider:

  • the importance of the position; and
  • whether the proposed appointment would be likely to be controversial.

If deferring an appointment is impracticable, usually for continuity purposes or reasons associated with the proper functioning of an agency, or due to meeting contractual obligations, there are several options:

  • an acting appointment can be made where permissible;[4]
  • a short term appointment can be made until shortly after the end of the caretaker period; or [5]
  • if those options are not practical, a full term appointment can be made and the relevant Minister, after agreement with the Premier, could consult the relevant Opposition spokesperson in such circumstances.

Governments should also defer making appointments to boards and committees during the caretaker period. If a board or committee experiencing a vacancy is able to operate legally and effectively with a quorum during the period, they should be encouraged to do so without the need for any new appointment.

Operational Notes

Significant appointments will generally include those for heads or deputy heads of an agency, the head of a division or branch whose activities are deemed sensitive, members of statutory bodies and statutory office holders.

Offers of consecutive appointments for senior departmental officers are to be made in accordance with contractual obligations and are usually made at least six months, and no less than three months, prior to the expiry of an appointment. At the time an offer of consecutive appointment is made it is accompanied by a proposed instrument of appointment which is the basis of the new appointment. The offer and acceptance at this time constitutes a contractual arrangement to make the appointment.
Instruments of appointment for consecutive appointments that have been accepted, but which are due to start in the caretaker period, should be signed by the relevant delegate or submitted to Executive Council, as is appropriate, prior to the commencement of the caretaker period.