Chief Minister Michael Gunner “threw away” a review of his office by the Victorian Premier’s chief of staff. Picture: Che Chorley
Chief Minister Michael Gunner “threw away” a review of his office by the Victorian Premier’s chief of staff. Picture: Che Chorley

Chief Minister ‘threw away’ scathing review of his office

A REVIEW of Chief Minister Michael Gunner's office conducted by the Victorian Premier's chief of staff - understood to be scathing - was "thrown out" after it wasn't considered relevant.

The ABC submitted a Freedom of Information (FOI) request for the review by Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews' chief of staff Lissie Ratcliff, but the request was rejected by the NT Government.

The matter was appealed to the Information Commission, which found there was insufficient evidence to continue because the review had been "thrown away" prior to the FOI request, the ABC reported.

Mr Gunner personally hired Ms Ratcliff to review his staff in July 2019.

A month later chief of staff Alf Leonardi and deputy chief of staff Kieran Phillips were removed from Mr Gunner's fifth floor office.

Co-deputy chief of staff Helen Nezeritis was also moved to a less senior role.

The review was never made public but is understood to be scathing in regards to parts of the Chief Minister's internal operations.

At a press conference Mr Gunner downplayed the significance of the review.

"I throw stuff out all the time," he said.

"Again it wasn't a report, it wasn't bound, it didn't go to the printers office. It wasn't the 10 commandments, it's not the bible. It was a word document with some notes with a draft org chart. It just wasn't at that level.

"About a year ago I wanted to reset my office - I think we should always look at ways we can improve - I'm always looking at ways we can improve and sometimes when you're the boss that can include resetting the work environment you're in. I asked for some fresh eyes but to call it a report or there was a commission it's taking it up a level that wasn't there.

"I made the changes, I've got a new chief of staff and then I moved on. It was as simple as that, there is no greater conspiracy than that … it just wasn't relevant anymore, it was redundant."

Mr Gunner said the review did not name any staff and when asked how much it cost, said "an economy flight and a cheap hotel room".

"Soon after she came up she obviously went away and had a little think about it put some thoughts down on paper and then I was at a COAG meeting and she just handed it to me," he said.

"Like, it's just a pretty straight forward thing and 10 months later people are trying to make it sound like it's more interesting than it is."

Originally published as Chief Minister 'threw away' scathing review of his office


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