Rann Government Minister Gail Gago has been caught out trying to pass the buck on a matter clearly in her portfolio but which she found too difficult to discuss, Shadow Police Minister Rob Lucas said today.
“As Minister for Mental Health and Substance Abuse, Gail Gago has responsibility for the Controlled Substances Act that Independent MLC Ann Bressington has introduced a Bill to amend,” Mr Lucas said.
“The Government Gazette of 24 November 2005 includes a proclamation* making it quite clear that Ms Gago, and not the Attorney-General, has Ministerial responsibility for the Controlled Substances Act.
“But when that Bill was being discussed on radio this morning after drug snorting equipment in a city store was brought to Ms Bressington’s attention, Ms Gago ducked for cover and claimed it was the Attorney-General’s responsibility.
“Ms Gago has displayed a disgraceful disregard for accountability by going into hiding and refusing to answer media questions on a matter clearly within her Ministerial portfolio.
“Ann Bressington has introduced a Bill to amend an Act clearly committed to Ms Gago, and Ms Gago has simply thrown up her hands and falsely claimed it’s not her portfolio.
“Unfortunately, it appears to be an increasing trend for Rann Government Ministers to try and avoid accountability and media questioning by buck-passing matters to each other.
“When problems with the drug driving legislation were first raised by the Liberal Party, journalists were constantly shuffled between Attorney-General Atkinson, Police Minister Holloway, Transport Minister Conlon and Road Safety Minister Zollo.
“The drug snorting kit being discussed this morning evidently includes a stainless steel straw to snort, and was on display in a glass cabinet with two lines of powder.
“It’s hard to see what legitimate lawful use someone could find for such a piece of equipment, and just as hard to work out why Ms Gago would not answer media questions on the Government’s policy.”
*Administrative Arrangements (Committal of Acts – Minister for Mental Health and Substance Abuse) Proclamation 2005, Page 4015