Australian Conservatives MLC Dennis Hood's Bill to make ICAC hearings public passed the Upper House of the South Australian parliament this afternoon.
Citing the Oakden Nursing Home scandal as the catalyst for change in legislation surrounding the ICAC, Dennis Hood stated that "The awful situations that have come to light around the Oakden nursing home debacle demands the government allow public scrutiny of the evidence and procedure of the inquiry".
Making it clear that transparency was the objective, Mr Hood said that the Bill put forth by the Australian Conservatives simply focused on open hearings for serious and systemic misconduct or maladministration, "nothing more, nothing less", further clarifying that he does not support public hearings for matters dealing with alleged corruption, so as to ensure potential court cases and prosecutions are not compromised.
"What we want to see is greater transparency while protecting the integrity of the ICAC and those who appear before it. This Bill allows the Commissioner to use discretion to decide which hearings would serve the public interest by being held in an open forum and which ones would be better held in private".