Rosalie Woodruff MP | Greens Justice spokesperson
The Integrity Commission’s report, tabled in Parliament today, confirms the Liberals will stop at nothing when it comes to logging our carbon-rich forests.
The allegations made by former WorkSafe Tasmania CEO, Mr Mark Cocker, suggest the Liberal Party engaged in politically-motivated attempts to interfere with the work of independent regulator WorkSafe Tasmania.
Following WorkSafe Tasmania’s directive to Bob Brown Foundation to cease protest activity in the State of Tasmania in February 2020, the Greens referred the matter to the Integrity Commission. We were troubled by the obvious over-reach of this directive, and the highly political nature of its implications.
The Integrity Commission’s findings highlight a number ways in which the Liberals inserted themselves into WorkSafe’s handling of the matter.
The former WorkSafe CEO’s evidence notes that while he was considering issuing a prohibition notice to the Bob Brown Foundation, the Attorney-General asked Mr Cocker what he was “going to do about stopping these protesters.”
Mr Cocker’s evidence noted that both the Attorney-General and her staff then indicated to him they were keen to see this notice served. It also noted that any public comments would be required to go through the Government Media Unit.
It is alleged not only did the Liberals attempt to influence WorkSafe’s decisions about this matter, but they also effectively gagged them by requiring any comments to be approved by the Government Communications Office, within the Premier’s office.
Tasmanians would be distressed to hear reports about the Liberal Government’s attempts to politically interfere with a supposedly independent regulator.
It is alarming that much of this activity is alleged to have come from the office of the Attorney-General. Ms Archer was adamant “there was no interference at all” when asked about this matter in Parliament last year*.
Political interference with an independent regulator is a very serious matter.
The Attorney-General refutes Mr Cocker’s evidence, but it’s hard to take her statement seriously. The specifics of his comments, combined with the Liberals’ native forest destruction agenda, makes the veracity of this evidence highly plausible.
Given Mr Cocker’s evidence allegations, the implication is scandalous. For the Attorney-General to not only attempt to engage in interference, but also to mislead the Tasmanian people about her actions, is shocking and unsupportable.
* Question from Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP to Attorney-General Elise Archer, 4 March 2020 - https://tasmps.greens.org.au/parliament/worksafe-tasmania-referral-bob-b...