Page 442 - Week 02 - Wednesday, 18 February 2015

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But I think we can also reflect on the approach the Liberal Party take to these things. No matter what the question is, they always want the biggest, most controversial inquiry that can possibly be mounted, no matter the scale of the question to be asked, and that is the politics of this. It is all about the trench warfare. The Liberal Party are always about inflicting maximum political damage. We see that, and we see the way they talk about my role in this as well.

It is always about the political score. It is not about finding the most appropriate mechanism. In this case we do have an appropriate mechanism. We set it up in this Assembly within the last 18 months, but members have a short memory. Those who were here last term will recall that we had a very substantial debate about matters surrounding Mr Seselja, and an inquiry was set up.

My view was that that was an unsatisfactory process. We needed an ability to scrutinise these sorts of matters. To do that, we set up the Commissioner for Standards. We set that up so that we can have a mechanism when these sorts of matters arise. Somebody independent, impartial, with integrity and with experience can look at these matters.

For reasons unclear to me, that mechanism has been ignored here. I think that is probably because the Liberal Party wanted to maximise the political exposure of this issue, not use the sensible mechanism that we put in place to resolve matters like this. I cannot answer why they did not go down that path, but yesterday I wrote to the Clerk seeking advice on whether the Commissioner for Standards was a suitable mechanism. I have a letter back from the Clerk that I will now table for the benefit of members who may wish also to read his advice that this is a suitable mechanism. I table the following paper:

Commissioner for Standards—Possible referral—Advice from the Clerk of the Legislative Assembly to Mr Rattenbury MLA, dated 18 February 2015.

It begs the question why the Liberal Party did not go down that path. They can answer that question, but at the end of the day I cannot support the motion put forward by Mr Hanson today. This motion is an overreach. This motion fails to reflect the evidence that has been put forward by both Ms Burch and Menslink indicating that neither party feels that undue or inappropriate influence was used to seek special favour for Ms Burch’s son.

That is the best evidence we have before us. Mr Hanson is seeking to generate an inquiry as some sort of political exercise, in my view, in order to answer questions that have been resolved. He has chosen to ignore the mechanism that is available to him because he wants a more spectacular outcome. I am not prepared to be a part of that. If there are questions that need to be resolved, seek those questions out in an appropriate forum. We probably do need to discuss the rollout of the working with vulnerable people program, but let us do that in a place that is appropriate. Let us not drag a particular case into the public limelight in order to resolve those important policy questions.

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