12 June 2015


Another step in the slow dismantling of the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner with the appointment of John McMillan as NSW Ombudsman.

His departure is convenient for national Attorney-General Brandis, whose initial denial of funding alongside an abortive attempt to formally abolish the OAIC saw McMillan somewhat theatrically working from his kitchen.

Presumably McMillan could have found a desk somewhere in the the OAIC's Sydney office but that would have lacked the headline value, particularly as the OAIC - having been given interim funding pending the Government's hope that its legislation would pass - went on to recruit staff.

The NSW media release states that
At his own request, and because he is aged 65, Professor McMillan has been appointed in an acting capacity for a two-year term. Professor McMillan is the inaugural Australian Information Commissioner and was Commonwealth Ombudsman between 2003 and 2010. He is an Emeritus Professor of the Australian National University. 
“I welcome the appointment of Professor McMillan, whose skills and experience put him in an ideal position to help ensure our public agencies maintain a world’s-best level of performance,” Mr Baird said. 
“Professor McMillan will take over responsibility for Operation Prospect, which Mr Barbour has progressed to its concluding stages, and I look forward to a comprehensive report as soon as possible.
All things considered it might have been better to make a permanent appointment - or amend the 65 year ceiling - rather than bring in McMillan in an 'acting' basis that bypasses the age restriction.