Karen Webb media adviser Steve Jackson: Chris Minns says backflip is ‘right call’

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Chris Minns has said it was the “right call” for NSW Police Commissioner Karen Webb not to appoint a former Channel 7 journalist to a highly paid position.

Veteran journalist and former Spotlight producer Steve Jackson was hired by NSW Police Commissioner Karen Webb on March 18 as her chief media adviser.

But 10 days later Ms Webb backflipped on the appointment of the former journalist to the highly paid spin doctor position.

The NSW Premier was asked on Sunday whether the decision was a mistake amid concerns of Mr Jackson’s, who produced the Spotlight interview with Bruce Lehrmann, colourful past — including images had been circulated with a woman he had interviewed in 2019.

There is no suggestion of wrongdoing by Jackson or that he knew the photographs were taken by the third man.

“Was that a mistake for the minister Yasmin Catley and her office to get involved in such an appointment for the police commissioner?” Sky News host Andrew Clennell asked.

Mr Minns denied the decision was a mistake.

“I wouldn’t label it as that,” the premier said.

“Obviously, when it comes to media directors and government departments, there’s a conversation that takes place.”

Mr Minns said it was unknown the circumstances surrounding the “unrelated” civil case would release this information, referring to the new allegations in the Lehrmann defamation trial.

“When ministers work with directors of government agencies, there’s obviously a discussion that takes place but I want to make it clear, these decisions are for agency heads and they’ve made the decision to not go ahead with that appointment,” he said.

“I think that’s the right call.”

Before it was revealed Mr Jackson would no longer serve in the role, Ms Webb had said he would work on a “temporary” basis until formal recruitment processes were completed.

But 10 days later she issued the statement reneging on the decision.

There is no suggestion Mr Jackson, who has more than 20 years’ experience in the media, is not qualified for the role.

“The NSW Police Force has ceased the temporary appointment for the role of the executive director, public affairs branch,” the statement on March 28.

“To best serve the interests of the NSW Police and community, the executive director, public affairs branch needs to be able to fulfil the duties of the role free from external distractions and ongoing media attention.

“The current arrangements for the role will continue for the time being”

Ms Webb has recently faced separate criticism over her public comments following the alleged murders of Jesse Baird and Luke Davies by a NSW police officer, whereby she referred to the alleged murders as a “crime of passion” and quoted Taylor Swift during a press conference on the couple’s death.

Mr Jackson was previously a producer on the Channel 7 Spotlight program.

Mr Jackson has been contacted for comment.

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