Premier Mike Rann had again changed his defence in the debate over conflict of interest allegations against him.
In a statement released late last week, Mr Rann now says the Deputy Crown Solicitor had previously advised that the simple fact that an organisation was located in a Minister’s electorate does not give rise to a conflict of interest.
“However, Mr Rann’s latest defence is in direct contrast with his publicly stated position last week,” Shadow Minister for Finance Rob Lucas said today.
“Last week, in an attempted defence over conflict of interest allegations about a $50,000 grant to the Port Power Football Club, Mr Rann told The Australian:
“If it was the Salisbury Football Club and I decided to give them $250,000, that would be a problem…”
(The Australian, 25-09-2009)
“Mr Rann also mounted similar arguments with other members of the media, including an interview last week on radio,” Mr Lucas said.
“However, evidence to the Legislative Council Budget and Finance Committee in 2007 has confirmed that Mr Rann in fact approved a grant out of his own Premier’s “slush fund” for $473,000 (incl. GST) to the St Dimitrios Greek Orthodox Parish, in Salisbury, in his electorate of Ramsay.”
The chronology of events on this issue is as follows:
• 24-Sept: Iain Evans raised in Parliament the issue of grants approvals to sporting clubs;
• 24-Sept: Mike Rann outlined his initial defence to The Australian;
• 25-Sept: Rob Lucas revealed past grants approvals relating to groups within Mr Rann’s electorate of Ramsay; and,
• 25-Sept: Mike Rann changed his defence over conflict of interest allegations.
“Like a chameleon changing its colours to suit its environment, Mr Rann has altered his defence in the debate over conflict of interest allegations against him,” Mr Lucas said.
“It is time for Mr Rann to release publicly the detail of Crown Law advice provided to him last week.
“It’s also time for Mr Rann to explain publicly the reasons why he keeps changing his defence on these conflict of interest allegations.
“Given the clear precedent established by the former Auditor General on these conflict of interest issues, it is now time for the current Auditor General to consider the issue.”