Australian Conservatives MLC Dennis Hood says anyone wanting to lead the next state government must commit to releasing the secretive cabinet documents kept out of the hands of the commissioner investigating the Oakden scandal.
“There is no doubt that if Australian Conservatives had the balance of power we would move heaven and earth to have these documents released to the commissioner.”
“We are calling on the other parties to make the same commitment to the families and the victims. They need more than an empty sorry from Jay Weatherill, they need more than its a “dark day” platitude from Stephen Marshall and they need much more than another Xenophon “call” for Weatherill to hand over the documents,” Mr Hood said.
“We need a firm commitment by all party leaders that they will release these documents to the commissioner even if that means reopening the inquiry. If it is reopened the Australian Conservatives bill that has already passed the Upper House would remove the secrecy aspect of this particular hearing,” he continued.
“Yesterday the Hon Bruce Lander called for a change in legislation to allow open and transparent ICAC hearings where needed – we are giving him that. This legislation, which relates to hearings that involve maladministration and misconduct has already been introduced by the Australian Conservatives in the SA parliament last year. It passed the Upper House but the government put it low on the House of Assembly agenda and it was wiped off when parliament was prorogued at the end of the year to make way for the election. I will make sure this is back on the table when parliament resumes after the election,” he said.
“The Oakden scandal is a sad indictment on Government secrecy and the way departments have been run under Labor and Australian Conservatives are calling for a better way to be established.”
“If there was nothing to hide why was the Premier and his Government not more forthcoming with the cabinet documents? Why did our bill sit unattended in the Lower House? The only answer is that this government was more interested in minimising the damage to itself on the eve of an election than taking responsibility for this tragedy. This government is not sorry, it is an unrepentant bureaucracy that refused to come clean with the information needed for the commissioner to do his job,” Mr Hood said.
Click here to read about the ICAC Commissioner's scathing report