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Government again shy on scrutiny

By November 9, 2021No Comments

The Independent Member for Clark, Kristie Johnston, today said the Tasmanian Government is failing its duty – on several fronts – to care and protect its citizens.

“Most fundamentally, this Government is a secret government; it avoids scrutiny seemingly at any cost,” Ms Johnston said.

“Today in Parliament I asked the Attorney-General a simple question: whether she agreed that the public would expect that ministers should be legally required to report suspected corrupt conduct. Here is the text:

Attorney, I imagine you have been following the New South Wales ICAC  inquiry into ex-premier Gladys Berejiklian’s secret relationship with a disgraced former MP, and how that relationship may have affected the way she dealt with projects he was pursuing.

The ICAC Act imposes a duty on ministers to report to the Commission any matter the minister suspects on reasonable grounds concerns or may concern corrupt conduct, and it is this obligation that has been the focus of questions directed at Ms Berejiklian.

Attorney, in Tasmania there is no similar legal requirement for ministers to report suspected corrupt conduct.

In Tasmania, ministers can carelessly go about their business and legally, if not morally, keep their suspicions to themselves.

Attorney, do you agree that the public would expect that ministers should be legally required to report suspected corrupt conduct?

Will you bring legislation into this House to rectify this omission, to ensure that ministers, and other senior public servants, are required to report suspected corrupt conduct to the Tasmanian Integrity Commission?

“Sadly, on such a basic test of honest and accountability, she failed to make any commitment to require ministers to report suspicions of corruption. That has to beg the next question: what has this Government got to hide?”

“All she could do was read out some provisions of the Integrity Commission Act and refer to a review of the Act conducted over five years ago, and still not acted on.

“All this prevarication misses the point: in Tasmania there is no legal obligation for ministers and senior public servants to report suspicions of corruption.”

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