Rann has to sack Atkinson
Wednesday, 19 October 2005
A further series of stunning allegations about Attorney-General Michael Atkinson has left Premier Rann no option but to sack Mr Atkinson, Shadow Treasurer Rob Lucas said today.
Mr Gary Lockwood, who is still working for the Rann Government as a part-time electorate assistant for the Labor Member for Florey Frances Bedford, today told the Legislative Council Select Committee on the Atkinson/Ashbourne affair:
• the Labor Member for Torrens, Ms Robyn Geraghty, had told him that Mr Atkinson in November 2003 had tried to pressure her to sack Mr Lockwood;
• the Labor Member for Florey, Ms Frances Bedford, had told him that Mr Atkinson in April 2005 had tried to pressure her to sack Mr Lockwood;
• Ms Geraghty, who was the Government Whip, had also told him that Mr Atkinson had a ‘blazing row’ with her and said she was a traitor to the Labor Party if she continued to employ Mr Lockwood; and that
• he had written to the Director of Public Prosecutions in May 2005 expressing concern that Attorney-General Atkinson was aware of one aspect of the confidential transcript of the Police Anti-Corruption Branch interview with Mr Lockwood as early as November 2003.
“It is important to remember that Mr Lockwood during most of this period was a potential witness at the Ashbourne trial, the Legislative Council Select Committee and the possible Government Independent Inquiry into the affair,” Mr Lucas said today.
Mr Lockwood also confirmed that most of his information on the key issue of whether board appointments had been offered to Mr Ralph Clarke – in exchange for dropping legal action against the Attorney-General Mr Atkinson – had been given to him by Mr Clarke.
Mr Lockwood also gave evidence that Mr Clarke had told him of other offers he had received in 2001 which Mr Lockwood described as even more ‘sensational’ than the current scandal.
“Mr Atkinson has gone into hiding on this issue again and is too scared to give evidence to the Select Committee,” Mr Lucas said.
“As more information is provided to the Select Committee it is becoming more obvious why Mr Atkinson is refusing to appear before a Select Committee which is actually chaired by one of his own Ministerial colleagues, Paul Holloway.
“Given Mr Atkinson’s political cowardice on this issue Mr Rann has to have the guts to sack the hapless Mr Atkinson, who is becoming another embarrassment to the Rann Government.”