The Hon. Rob Lucas MLC

The Hon

Rob Lucas MLC


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Rann’s back - time for answers on Ashbourne payout

Tuesday, 27 December 2005

Shadow Treasurer Rob Lucas said today that now Mr. Rann was back from holidays he could no longer hide from answering the many unanswered questions on the payout to his former political adviser Randall Ashbourne.

This payout cost taxpayers at least $400,000 and of course was announced last week whilst Mr. Rann was on holidays overseas and could not be questioned by the media or opposition.

The Auditor-General Ken MacPherson in evidence to a Legislative Council Select Committee in August warned that the actions of Mr. Rann had been wrong and had exposed taxpayers to a significant liability for unfair dismissal.

Mr. Rann must now answer the following questions:

• Does Mr. Rann now agree with the views of the Auditor General that his actions had exposed the taxpayers of SA to a significant payout for unfair dismissal?
• Given the claim by government spokespersons that there were no confidentiality clauses in the agreement to settle out of court will Mr. Rann now release a copy of this agreement?
• Is it correct that Mr. Rann and the government received legal advice that it was stongly advised that Mr. Rann should settle out of court because it would be very difficult to defend Mr. Rann’s actions on this matter?
• What were the total legal costs of the government relating to this matter and can he confirm that this significant legal cost is an additional cost to SA taxpayers?
• Has Mr. Rann and the government agreed to taxpayers paying any of the legal costs incurred by Mr. Ashbourne and if so what is the additional cost to taxpayers?
• Why did Mr. Rann agree to taxpayers making tax payments to the ATO as part of this settlement and was it to assist Mr. Ashbourne and to help him minimize his tax payments?
• Can Mr Rann give an assurance that the Attorney General Mr. Atkinson excluded himself from any discussions about a possible settlement with Mr. Ashbourne?

It needs to be noted that Mr.Ashbourne had only recently issued a public statement that he might be a surprise witness at the hearings of the Legislative Council Select Committee on the Atkinson / Ashbourne affair.

It is easy to understand now why Mr. Rann went to such desperate lengths to shut down the Parliament and to try and stop the work of the Legislative Council Select Committees. Mr. Rann was deperate to prevent opposition questioning on this and related issues.

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