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Integrity Commission - Australia Institute Report

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP  -  Thursday, 10 March 2022

Tags: Integrity Commission, Integrity

Dr WOODRUFF (Franklin) - Mr Speaker, I also rise to say some words about the very important report that was released by the Australia Institute today - the report into the functioning and the independence of the Integrity Commission. Their findings were scathing.

It is very clear compared to other jurisdictions that we perform badly, not just in the amount of money that is available for the Integrity Commission to do its work but also in the outcomes when there have been no public hearings that have ever been held in this state and where there are no tribunals where we can, as Ms O'Connor said, get to the bottom of the evidence that the Integrity Commission uses in coming to its judgements on investigations that are referred to it, where this can be publicly seen.

We cannot have confidence that the Integrity Commission is doing the work that we need it to do to look after the fair use of resources in this state and to have the assurance that ministers of the Crown are working with good conduct in public office instead of many instances where there is obvious misconduct in public office.

The Premier said this morning, and further words were reported in The Examiner newspaper, that he did not see any evidence of corruption in Tasmania. It was reported that neither did Lara Giddings, previous premier of the Labor Party, see any corruption either.

What a surprise - not - that both the Labor and the Liberal Party would not see any corruption in Tasmania. Why would they talk about corruption when they have been overseeing over four decades of rampant public subsidies that have been provided to Forestry Tasmania to enable over $1.3 billion - the estimate the last time I heard - of public monies that had been funnelled into Forestry Tasmania, to further the private company of Gunns and the Tamar Valley Pulp Mill; an incredible exercise which involved parliament coming in over the top of the independent planning process, writing legislation to get something through that was in the political and invested interests that donate to the Labor and Liberal parties in Tasmania.

We see the same thing: Federal Hotels obviously have their grip on the Liberal Party and clearly on the Labor Party. This opposition leader went to the 2018 election promising Tasmanians that the Labor Party would stand with them and ban pokies in Tasmania. She backflipped, her party backflipped. They let down Tasmanians. Our people, the poorest people in Tasmania, have now got that horrific company funnelling money, $200 million a year, out of Tasmania into their pockets, their wealth, in Sydney - none of it in Tasmania, none of it going to communities, none of it going to start the new industries that we need, none of it going to the social services and support that families need.

That is the sort of graft and corruption and misconduct that happens in Tasmania. What a surprise that the previous Labor premier could not find any evidence while they were in office.

In his parting shot to the government in 2015, the honourable Murray Kellam pointed out the problem is that we do not have a crime of misconduct in public office. We cannot investigate the misuse of ministerial powers. We cannot investigate the misuse of public resources. That is exactly the place where most of the small seed corruption happens in Tasmania. Whether it goes to line the pockets of minister or a public servant is not always the most important thing.

Graft, fraud, bribery, and misuse of power can be not just for personal gain, but for the gain of the political party that you are a member of. Because ultimately, that goes to shoring up your best interests, whether it means that you get more people elected to parliament.

Adam Brooks was a serial liar to parliament. He had to leave parliament and resign because he was a serial liar. That man was charged by Tasmanian Police during the state election campaign last year in 2021. That came to public attention early in the campaign. Then later on he was charged by the Queensland Police with category H firearms, handguns with multiple fake identities. He should have been charged, and he has not been, for the catfishing that he employed to entrap at least two, maybe six, women into having relationships with him when he had fake names, fake lives, fake identities. This is the sort of person that the Liberal Party kept as a candidate until the very last day, the hour before the polls were declared. Two weeks after the election, the Premier comes out and says, 'Adam Brooks is resigning.' They had his money, they had his profile, they got the seat, you can go now.

What is there to see? We referred that to the Integrity Commission. Nah, nothing to see here. Actually, there is nothing we can do about it because there is a loophole in the legislation. The Greens have tried to fix that legislation; the Government voted it down. We have no confidence in an Integrity Commission when the Attorney-General gets to pick who the chair is.