Deputy Administrator stood down, not sacked: CAALAS



Deputy to the Administrator Patricia Miller has not been sacked as the CEO of the Central Australian Aboriginal Legal Aid Service (CAALAS), but stood down pending an inquiry, the service has told the Alice Springs News Online today. It will make a further statement in the near future.


CAALAS says the Federal inquiry is part of an annual examination.


A spokesperson for the Federal Attorney-General’s Department says it is a “financial assessment and health check of all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services” in Australia.


The assessment checks “whether service providers have complied with terms and conditions of the Indigenous Legal Assistance Program Funding Agreement (2011-2015), particularly expenditure of and accountability for Commonwealth funding and Commonwealth funded assets,” says the spokesperson.


It assesses “the financial viability and health of each Indigenous legal assistance service provider, and provides the department with a cost analysis of each provider’s legal service operations”.


The spokesman says “the Financial Assessment Health Check has now concluded and the department is working closely with CAALAS to address the recommendations of the review”.


The Alice Springs News Online has asked the department for further details.


CAALAS had not responded when the News made earlier requests for comment on the events.



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10 Comments (starting with the most recent)

NB: If you want to reply to a previous comment, start your comment with this notation: @n where n is the number of the comment you want to reply to.
  1. Greed
    Posted February 19, 2015 at 11:46 am

    Well, Maurie, things may happen in what you tried to achieve in opening up Central Land Council and Centrecorp / Yeperenye Shopping Centre.
    First of all let’s look at the sitting fees these people are on for meetings for Centrecorp and heads of Aboriginal corporations – Tangentyere, Congress, Lhere Artepe, land council.

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  2. Elvis
    Posted February 1, 2015 at 6:59 am

    A reliable source, a relative and a posting on Facebook, people are scurrying around now looking for support because of a person and her actions. But nah, what is done is done!

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  3. Erwin Chlanda
    Posted January 31, 2015 at 9:52 am

    @ Dave & Davies: We have put questions to CAALAS, including about sitting fees and TA, as well as the CEO’s job, which we understand is an “identified indigenous position”.
    We are confident we will receive comprehensive answers soon.
    Erwin Chlanda
    Editor, Alice Springs News Online

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  4. Dave
    Posted January 31, 2015 at 9:04 am

    Interested Onlooker: Posted January 30, 2015 at 9:49 am
    @ Kelly – Isn’t it common practice that a lot of boards get a sitting fee? What’s your point?
    I suppose Kelly’s point is that a lot of boards DON’T get sitting fees / travel allowance, if you had said “Isn’t it common practice that a lot of Indigenous boards get a sitting fee, you would have been spot on.
    You find plenty of boards such as sport committees around Australia that don’t get paid and the commitment is much more.
    Sitting fees / TA aren’t really an issue because otherwise you wouldn’t get a quorum and the meeting wouldn’t happen.
    The real problem arises as to the amount of compensation they get per meeting and the frequency of the meetings, always good to delay a decision especially when you can come back the next day to make the decision. You would find some of these sitting members are raking in $30 – $40k per year by being a committee member.
    Original Centralian said: Are any of the board members qualified to sit on the board of a legal service or are most of them pensioners who want the sitting and traveling fees to top up their pensions.
    I say the latter is correct and I would be very surprised if literacy levels are high.

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  5. Davies
    Posted January 31, 2015 at 6:48 am

    Will. Your attack on the CEO is unwarranted.
    You say that the “CAALAS Board and its non-Aboriginal acting CEOs should be honest with us all.” Why bring race into this?
    Are you suggesting that Aboriginal rather than non Aboriginal CEOs are more honest or fairer in representing the interests of Aboriginal people?
    There are plenty of examples where Aboriginal groups choose a non Aboriginal manager because he or she does not have the obligations to family that can interfere with the fair running of an organisation.

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  6. Kelly
    Posted January 30, 2015 at 2:49 pm

    @ Interested Onlooker. Got no family to protect nor have I attacked individuals, just an observation. What’s your angle?

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  7. Will
    Posted January 30, 2015 at 11:49 am

    The Board have made it personal @ Interested Onlooker.
    Personal agendas are at play 100%, but personal attacks serve no purpose.
    As with most scenarios there are two sides to every story, would be good to hear the reason.
    If asking the CAALAS service this week if CEO is available you will be informed she is on Sick Leave and they have an acting CEO.
    There are mixed messages being given out.
    After 35 years at the helm suddenly things are awry with the CEO? I think not!
    There is much more happening behind the scenes internally.
    A financial assessment and annual check are conducted on all Organizations regularly. There is nothing new to see here.
    Don’t try and link it to this as it’s not the case.
    CAALAS Board and its non-Aboriginal acting CEOs should be honest with us all and tell us what is happening at OUR Aboriginal Legal Service.

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  8. Interested Onlooker
    Posted January 30, 2015 at 9:49 am

    @ Kelly – Isn’t it common practice that a lot of boards get a sitting fee? What’s your point? Once again making personal attacks against all and trying to brush over the initial issue when it all came out and people jump the gun?!
    Whatever the final decision is, it will be the appropriate one.
    It’s all well and good to support family but stop attacking individuals until the assessment has concluded and followed due process.

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  9. Original Centralian
    Posted January 30, 2015 at 9:00 am

    After 35 years it has been decided that “your services are no longer required”?
    That’s what the first letter said. Who on the board wants the CEO job?
    Are any of the board members qualified to sit on the board of a legal service or are most of them pensioners who want the sitting and traveling fees to top up their pensions.
    Maybe an investigation should be launched as to the board members.
    If they work, do they still get paid fees? If they are being paid from their employer? Double dipping! Do the board members declare their $ received to Centrelink or the Tax department?

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  10. Kelly
    Posted January 29, 2015 at 2:13 pm

    These financial assessments and annual checks happen all the time to organisations who receive Government funding.
    Not a reason to suspend a CEO though, might be more to it.
    Maybe they should look into how much the board has been paid for travel and sitting fees, all on Government funds.

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