An unprecedented lobbying campaign by Attorney-General Atkinson and Premier Rann failed to block the re-establishment of two critical Legislative Council Select Committees, Shadow Treasurer Rob Lucas said today.
Liberal Members, supported by key Independent Members, voted this evening to re-establish the ‘Stashed Cash’ and Atkinson/Ashbourne Affair Select Committees to allow them to finish their jobs of taking evidence and producing final reports.
These two Select Committees have been investigating, respectively, matters raised by the Auditor-General in his 2003-04 annual report to the Parliament and matters surrounding allegations that board appointments had been offered to Mr Ralph Clarke in 2002 in exchange for him dropping legal action against the Attorney-General Mr Atkinson.
“These two committees have so far proved a constant source of embarrassment to the Rann Government and the hapless Attorney-General Atkinson in particular,” Mr Lucas said.
“These committees have a lot of important work to do in ensuring all the facts on these issues are revealed and that the Rann Government is held accountable for all of its actions.
“Over the last few weeks Independent Members have been subjected to an unprecedented lobbying campaign from Mr Atkinson, Mr Rann and other senior Rann Government representatives in a failed attempt to block these Committees from being re-established.
“If Mr Rann and Mr Atkinson had been successful then, for example, the Auditor-General would have been prevented from finishing giving his evidence to the ‘Stashed Cash’ committee and other key witnesses would have been prevented from putting their side of the story to the committee.
“The re-establishment of these committees is further testimony to the importance of retaining the Legislative Council.
“Mr Rann’s policy of wanting to abolish the Legislative Council would mean that Mr Rann would be able to stop the establishment of any committee that the Premier did not want.“