Liberal Upper House Leader Rob Lucas has called on Premier Mike Rann to explain why one of his senior advisers:
‘behaved in a verbally aggressive and intimidating manner with a DPP officer on the issue of Premier Rann’s appearance at the Ashbourne trial’. Hansard June 30 2005.
Mr Lucas told Parliament today that staff from the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions had been so concerned by the nature of the discussion with the Premier’s Senior Legal Adviser, Nick Alexandrides, that they had reported it to the DPP.
He said that Mr Pallaras had then sought an urgent meeting with the Attorney-General:
‘to protest at the behaviour of the Premier’s senior legal adviser towards DPP staff acting in the trial of a former senior adviser to Premier Rann, Mr Ashbourne’ Hansard June 30 2005
Minister Paul Holloway – the Rann Minister responsible for dealings with the DPP in relation to the Atkinson-Ashbourne Affair – admitted in parliament that he had subsequently had a meeting with the DPP but refused to reveal what had been discussed.
Under further questioning in Parliament Mr Holloway’s ministerial colleague Carmel Zollo admitted she had offered to help resolve the issue with Mr Pallaras in Mr Holloway’s absence overseas but the DPP declined.
Minister Zollo described the circumstances surrounding Mr Pallaras’ concerns over Mr Alexandrides dealings with the Office of the DPP as ‘big drama’.
“Today’s revelations in Parliament are extraordinary,” Mr Lucas said. “This is yet another reason why the proposed inquiry now has to be a public inquiry to ensure all the facts and these issues can be resolved.
“The concerns of the Opposition are shared by Mr Pallaras who has said the matter was of ‘considerable concern’ to him and had reported the incident to the government, awaiting answers.
“Mr Rann can no longer hide on this issue and must explain what the DPP has complained about and what actions he is taking in response to the DPP’s concerns.”