Shadow Industrial Relations Minister Rob Lucas today condemned Industrial Relations Minister Russell Wortley for refusing to reveal how much a prominent unionist employed in his office was being paid.
In February this year Mr Wortley employed Jimmy Watson, a high profile union organiser in the LHMU, as an industrial relations adviser in his office.
“Taxypayers have a right to know how much a union mate is being paid and it is typical of the arrogance of the Weatherill Government that Minister Wortley is refusing to release this information,” Mr Lucas said.
“This appointment is a massive waste of money as Minister Wortley already has 14 full-time staff, 3 part-time staff and a chauffeur. In fact, he already had a Ministerial Adviser for Industrial Relations in his office before he appointed Jimmy Watson.”
The Ombudsman recently forced the Weatherill Government to release details of taxpayer-funded payments to Premier Weatherill’s Senior Adviser John Bistrovic as follows:
“The remuneration details in the documents concern payments made to Mr Bistrovic as a public officer, from the public purse. While Mr Bistrovic objects to disclosure of information recorded on these payments, there is a public interest in favour of disclosure which centres on the net accountability expenditure of public monies.
This outweighs Mr Bistrovic’s objections, and any privacy (if any) which may attach to the details. In my view it would not be unreasonable to disclose the information.”
“The Liberal Party will now have to proceed with the lengthy Freedom of Information process to force the Minister to reveal how much Mr Watson is being paid,” Mr Lucas said.
“Minister Wortley was also forced into an embarrassing back down and apology for misleading comments about Watson’s appointment in Parliament. Minister Wortley told Parliament Mr Watson’s job title was available on the internet and that his salary would also be released in the Government Gazette.
“This is yet another embarrassing bungle from a Minister quite clearly out of his depth.”