Ex-ministerial adviser’s six-figure claim settlement
THE State Government has settled a controversial compensation claim by a former senior media adviser, who worked for four government ministers, over his dismissal 14 months ago.
The case is believed to have settled with the State agreeing to a six-figure compensation payout to former adviser Neil Doorley and him being allowed to resign, retrospectively.
The settlement, just months before a State election, ends a 13-month legal campaign by Mr Doorley in Queensland Industrial Relations Commission and Queensland Human Rights Commission.
It avoids possible Commission hearings in which Mr Doorley could have aired controversial allegations about government ministers and dysfunction within their offices.
In QIRC legal documents Mr Doorley made allegations about a minister being called "lazy'', ministerial leaks to journalists, verbal abuse from staffers and professional sabotage.
Mr Doorley had sought compensation for lost employment and income and damage to his career prospects and personal reputation and for pain, stress, anxiety and humiliation.
Speaking outside court last year, Mr Doorley made it clear that he would only settle the matter for a six-figure compensation payout and the government allowing him to resign retrospectively.
He also had taken a political discrimination case to Queensland Human Rights Commission, which also has been settled.
It is believed Mr Doorley spent tens of thousands of dollars pursuing his claim against the State, which engaged a leading Queens Counsel, through Crown Law.
"The matter has settled to everyone's satisfaction. Neil is relieved to be able to finally move on,'' Mr Doorley's solicitor, Benedict Coyne, said.
Mr Doorley claimed he was sacked without reason by the Premier's then chief-of-staff David Barbagallo, in November, 2018, when he returned to work after stress leave.
Mr Barbagallo resigned from his position in September, and is still subject of an unrelated Crime and Corruption Commission probe into a taxpayer-funded investment in a company he part-owned.
Mr Doorley had worked for Ministers Mick de Brenni, Steven Miles, Leeanne Enoch and Craig Crawford.
In discrimination complaint documents, Mr Doorley's lawyer said Mr Doorley was told his employer had partly lost confidence in him because he had asked a media adviser in the Premier's office about a leak out of that office.
The media adviser told Mr Doorley he should stop going around bagging the Premier's office to senior public servants and media advisers, it was claimed.
The discrimination complaint said when he became a government media adviser, Mr Doorley said he had not and never intended to be a member of the ALP.
When told, as a Ministerial senior media adviser that he would be expected to campaign for a Minister and the ALP before an election, he made it clear he would not do so.
In a QIRC document, Mr Doorley said Mr Barbagallo told him Minister Leeanne Enoch did not want him in her office, because of staff complaints.
Mr Doorley claimed Mr Barbagallo told him he could be ostracised by Left ministers because of Minister Enoch's concerns, and he pointed out he was not an ALP member nor "therefore the Labor Left faction''.
Mr Doorley claims he was often blamed by senior staff within the Premier's office for media leaks, but he claims Minister Dr Steven Miles leaked to the media.
He claimed had to "clean up'' for the government and Premier's office, "to contain any fallout'' from the leaks.
Mr Doorley claimed while working for Ms Enoch, he was subjected to verbal abuse by her staff and accused of being a "mole'' for the Premier's office
The government previously denied it dismissed Mr Doorley, with a payout, because he made inquiries and complaints about his job or took stress leave.