Monday, May 25, 2020

A weird reappointment

A couple of weeks ago, Parliament reappointed Peter Boshier as Chief Ombudsman for another five years. There's nothing weird about the reappointment - it was recommended by the Officers of Parliament Committee, and Boshier is generally recognised as having done a good job in office (though at the same time, having a government Minister praise your performance as an Ombudsman suggests you're not kicking enough arse - they're not meant to like you). No, what's weird is the term. Boshier requested, and the Officers of Parliament Committee recommended, a three-year reappointment, after which Boshier "would want to discuss and engage with the committee about future plans at that time". Why? Because like judges, Ombudsmen are forcibly retired when they get too old - in this case, at age 72. Boshier was born in 1952, so he will hit mandatory retirement in 2024, a year before his new term as Ombudsman ends.

This doesn't make the appointment illegal, just unusual. There's obvious questions about why the House wasn't told about this issue before voting, or why the term was raised - presumably with Boshier's agreement - from the committee's recommendation. Is the government planning to raise the age limits mid-term? Or were they just not paying attention?