Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1993 Week 08 Hansard (Tuesday, 17 August 1993) . . Page.. 2258 ..
Government Service - Redundancy Payment
MR DE DOMENICO: Madam Speaker, my question without notice is to the Chief Minister. It is about the report of the inquiry into allegations concerning the granting of a redundancy payment in her department. I quote from a press release from Mr Harris, issued yesterday, which said:
The report did conclude that an officer involved should be counselled about the need to declare possible conflicts of interest.
I ask the Chief Minister: Was there a conflict of interest, and, if so, is counselling the usual manner of handling such breaches concerning conflicts of interest?
MS FOLLETT: I thank Mr De Domenico for the question, Madam Speaker. To refresh members' memories on the matter, the allegation that there was an inappropriate redundancy payment made to an officer or deceased officer within my department was fully and appropriately investigated under the provisions of the Public Service Act. The Head of Administration, who has legislative responsibility for these matters, has concluded his investigations, including having made all of the details available to the Director of Public Prosecutions. The upshot of those investigations and the DPP's opinion is that there was no evidence of criminal behaviour on the part of the deceased officer, or any other person, so the matter has been concluded, and concluded appropriately, in my view.
The report, as Mr De Domenico has said, did recommend that an officer involved should be counselled about the need to declare possible conflicts of interests. I stress the word "possible", Madam Speaker. That counselling has occurred. I have been briefed by the Head of Administration on the matter and I am satisfied that the whole episode has now been satisfactorily resolved. There is also the investigation that I have asked the Auditor-General to conduct into the more general question of the procedures for handling such payments and how those procedures might be improved. I will be referring to the Auditor-General the relevant parts of the investigation that Mr De Domenico has referred to. So, Madam Speaker, I think that the episode has been satisfactorily concluded. I repeat, in answer to Mr De Domenico's question, that the point at issue is that of possible conflicts of interest. There was no suggestion of an actual conflict of interest.
MR DE DOMENICO: I have a supplementary question, Madam Speaker. Chief Minister, seeing that there are also a number of other suggestions in this so-called report about how some of the guidelines and procedures used for handling such payments could be improved, will you now make copies of this report available to members of the Assembly, as you have obviously passed the report to the Auditor-General, to make sure that everything is perceived to be the way you suggest that it is?
MS FOLLETT: Madam Speaker, the report was conducted under the disciplinary provisions of the Public Service Act. It contains information that is personal to particular officers and allegations that are personal to particular officers. My view is that those officers, as officers of the ACT public service, are entitled to privacy and that it is not a good precedent to be airing in public the intimate details of such disciplinary procedures. Having said that, of course I am aware