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Outgoing Integrity Commission Chief Slams Cuts and Complacency

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Friday, 7 August 2015

Tags: Integrity Commission, Justice

Cassy O’Connor MP | Greens Leader

Retiring Integrity Commission Chief Commissioner, the Honourable Murray Kellam AO, has exposed in raw detail the Hodgman Liberal Government’s attempts to undermine and weaken Tasmania’s Integrity Commission, potentially giving the ‘green light’ to corruption in the State.

Mr Kellam, a former Supreme Court Justice in Victoria, is scathing of the Liberals’ decision to slash the Integrity Commission’s funding by 20%, accusing the Government of ignoring advice, clearly in a bid to justify the budget cuts publicly.

Ex-Justice Kellam AO also hits out at repeated refusals by government to amend the Integrity Commission Act 2009 to ensure it is workable and empowers the Commission to undertake its important ‘watch dog’ role in promoting and seeking to ensure ethical conduct by public bodies and public representatives in Tasmania.

He raises further questions about the agenda of government and the bureaucracy in Tasmania in undermining the Integrity Commission and its capacity to fulfil its important role.

In a string of damning criticisms, Mr Kellam cites the failure of government to amend the Criminal Code of Tasmania to include an offence of ‘misconduct in public office.’

The Tasmanian Greens were the first party to call for the establishment of an Integrity Commission for Tasmania.  As a standing member of the Parliamentary Integrity Committee, the Greens have repeatedly called for the legislation to be improved, for the  Integrity Commission to be adequately resourced and for the Criminal Code to be amended to include an offence of ‘misconduct in public office.’

Any reading of the final report and dissenting statements of the Three Year Review of the Integrity Commission completed in June this year by Parliament’s  Integrity Committee, reveals the Liberals’ true agenda in the publicly available Minutes of meetings, where Lyons Liberal MP, Mr Guy Barnett, repeatedly votes against any recommendations to strengthen the capacity of Tasmania’s key integrity body.