Shadow Treasurer Rob Lucas said today the Auditor-General would be the first witness this morning to give evidence to the reconvened Legislative Council Select Committee known as the ‘stashed cash’ committee.
After the state election the Legislative Council voted to re-establish two select committees which had been enquiring into matters relating to the behaviour and actions of the beleagured Attorney-General Michael Atkinson – the Atkinson/Ashbourne and ‘stashed cash’ committees.
The ‘stashed cash’ inquiry has been considering issues relating to the allegedly unlawful deposits into the Crown Solicitor’s Trust Account (CSTA) as well as the issue of the allegedly unlawful $5 million ‘loan’ from one government department to another.
Mr Lucas said that one of the key issues raised in previous hearings has been whether or not Mr. Atkinson had told the truth in a sworn statement to the Auditor General when he claimed he did not even know of the existence of the CSTA.
Mr. Atkinson’s claim that he did not know of the existence of the CSTA comes despite the overwhelming evidence presented to the committee:
• references to the CSTA included in Mr. Atkinson’s briefing folder which he read when he first became a Minister;
• references to the CSTA were included in 2 annual reports of Mr. Atkinson’s own department which he read and presented to Parliament;
• references to the CSTA included in 2 annual reports of the Auditor General that were presented to Mr. Atkinson;
• his former CEO gave evidence she had discussed the CSTA with Mr. Atkinson 6-8 times.
The Auditor General in previous evidence has conceded that if Mr. Atkinson did not tell the truth then he would have committed the criminal offence of perjury. Clearly in those circumstances Mr. Atkinson would either have to resign or be sacked by the Premier.
“Amongst other issues that have been raised with the Auditor General include the reasons why the Auditor General and his staff had not picked up the unlawful transactions during the regular audit,” Mr Lucas said.