LNP doctor discriminated against
Former QLD MP Chris Davis has won $1.5 million from Brisbane's Metro North Hospital and Health Service (MNHHS) over unlawful discrimination due to his political beliefs.
Dr Davis was sacked as assistant health minister in Campbell Newman's LNP Government in 2014, before moving on to apply for a senior medical officer position at the Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital, controlled by MNHHS.
Dr Davis ran afoul of former premier Campbell Newman after speaking out against the government's plans for doctor contracts and other policies.
Dr Davis was the only qualified applicant for the position he sought after his sacking, but did not get the job.
The Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) has since found that MNHHS delayed interviews before filling the appointment internally.
This meant going outside its long-established procedure for recruiting.
QCAT presiding member Clare Endicott found there was a “disconnect” between what was being told to Dr Davis and what was actually happening at the time.
“There is no evidence that any steps were realistically taken to proceed with the recruitment process,” she said.
“Dr Davis was being told between 2 September 2014 and 26 September 2014 that there were delays occurring that pushed back the likely date for an interview.”
Ms Endicott instead found “there is evidence that there would be no interview after 2 September 2014”.
“The only person left out of the loop after 2 September 2014 was Dr Davis,” she said.
Former MNHHS CEO Malcolm Stamp and board chairman Dr Paul Alexander were singled out in Ms Endicott’s statements.
“Given the recent turbulent events involving Dr Davis and the Liberal National Party government, it is beyond credence that the chief executive officer would not discuss matters relating to Dr Davis seeking employment as a public hospital doctor with the board chairman,” she said in her ruling.
She also said she believes “that it would be unlikely that [Dr Alexander] did not become involved in that application”.
Ms Endicott found Mr Stamp and Dr Alexander decided to end the recruitment process and not appoint Dr Davis.
She also found that no other applicant would have encountered the same interference in the recruitment process.
“I find that Dr Davis was treated less favourably in that process,” she said.
She heard “no innocent explanation” from Mr Stamp or Dr Alexander.
“In fact, the evidence reveals that no reason was given for the decision by the chief executive officer at that time: not clinical streaming, not budgetary concerns, not a concern about his 'fit' for the role,” she said.
“It is reasonable for the tribunal to draw the inference that the reason for the decision was directly connected to who the sole applicant was and to his recent actions (less than four months previously and as recently as late July 2014) as a politician and a potential future political candidate.”
Ms Endicott found it “amounted to unlawful discrimination against Dr Davis”.
Dr Davis said he feels vindicated by the decision that “should never have been allowed to happen”.
“The ethics of Metro North definitely needs to be looked at. The moral compass seems to have been lost somewhere,” he said.
“To apparently come after me in the way that I was persecuted afterwards is very bad for democracy.”