While writing my previous post, I recalled the days when I had top secret security clearance. But it was all a bit of a joke – certainly by today’s sensitivities. In May 1983 I was appointed ministerial press secretary to Hugh Templeton, Minister of Trade and Industry. I was supposed to have security clearance for that job, but the SIS was notoriously inefficient in such things and it never came to pass. I guess Trade and Industry was not regarded as a particularly sensitive portfolio as far as security went.
Later when office renovations we needed, they wanted to move me temporarily into a neighboring office – that of David Thomson, Minister of Defence. Whoops! Where’s John’s security clearance? It was done very smartly and I moved into Thomson’s office. But I had worked in the executive section of parliament for four months with no security clearance. I doubt if that would happen today.