A highly placed whistleblower has today revealed embarrassing details of Rann Government attempts to prevent the truth being released about claims of $30 million annual savings from the Government’s latest computer tendering contracts.
Liberal Member of the Legislative Council Rob Lucas said today that the Rann Government has scrapped the former EDS contract and replaced it with its ‘Future ICT’ process which it claimed last year would save taxpayers $30 million per year. For some months now, a whistleblower has been providing information to the Liberal Party about this claim.
Last month, when Freedom of Information (FoI) requests were lodged with all Departments seeking the truth about this claim, the Rann Government went into panic mode.
“This culminated in an unprecedented meeting on 29 August when more than 40 public servants were summoned to a meeting with senior Treasury officers to receive ‘advice’ on how to handle these FoI requests,” Mr Lucas said.
“The whistleblower provided minutes of the meeting and claimed it was ‘a shameful exercise in bullying and harassment,’ and the message was loud and clear that FoI officers should not release anything unless it supported Treasury’s position.
“In particular, Treasury told FoI officers that because the FoI request only referred to ‘savings from the ICT process’ that any documents that referred to ‘cost pressures arising from the ICT process’ should not be released as they were not covered by the request!
“It is quite clear the Rann Government is desperate to protect some of these documents from being released because they will show that Premier Rann and Treasurer Foley’s claims of $30 million savings are untrue.
“The hypocrisy of the Rann Government on this issue knows no bounds as they always claim there is no ‘interference’ in the handling of FoI requests by independent FoI officers,” he said.
For example, in 2003, Minister Weatherill boldly stated:
“Let us end this absurdity about so called political interference in relation to FoI applications.”
Mr Lucas said that Minister Holloway, when today asked in Parliament about the allegations of some of his officers at the meeting, was unable to answer the question.
As a result of this attempted manipulation of the FoI process by the Rann Government and Treasury officers, the Liberal Party will be lodging further FoI applications seeking any documents that refer to ‘cost pressures’ as well as those documents that refer to ‘savings.’