" Report a damning reflection on Labor's appalling standards of governance over the past 11 years " Bartlett rebuffed on investigative powers " Wide ranging recommendations highlight the need for a complete change of culture in government in this state
The report of the Joint Select Committee inquiry into ethical conduct shows that a complete change of culture is required from government in this State, after 11 years of Labor impropriety and scandal, leading to concerns about "institutionalised corruption".
The report has also delivered a major rebuff to Premier Bartlett with its recommendation that a Tasmanian Integrity Commission have the power to investigate allegations of corruption.
This report is a major embarrassment to Labor, which has for years rejected the need for an independent anti corruption body, and a number of other recommendations contained in this report.
That Labor has taken us to the point where such wholesale changes are deemed necessary to try to restore trust in government, shows they've lost the moral authority to govern.
Nothing has changed about the way Labor operates since David Bartlett became Premier, because nothing will change unless we change the government.
It is telling that Premier Bartlett did not want an ethics or anti-corruption body with the capacity to investigate allegations of corruption, and we welcome the fact that the Committee has rejected his view.
Last October, in presenting the government's submission to the Joint Select Committee, Attorney General, Lara Giddings said:
The submission I gave to the committee...is the government's position, It is the view of the Premier, myself and the rest of the Government...A Commission should be a clearing house for all complaints but in our opinion it should not have the powers to investigate corruption in its own right.
The Tasmanian Liberals have consistently argued that any anti-corruption body must have the capacity to investigate allegations of corruption and impropriety. We would not budge on this critical aspect.
And we could have had such a body already in place if the Premier, and his government, hadn't repeatedly blocked our efforts to do so over recent years.
The Premier must now explain when he will implement this recommendation and how he will fund it.
Many of the other issues raised in the report are issues that have been repeatedly raised with the Labor Government, but the government has been too arrogant and too focussed on its own political self-interest to act.
These include the need for an independent anti corruption body with investigative powers, amending Section 7 of the Police Act, and an examination of the size of the Tasmanian Parliament.
But the Premier must put the long-term interests of our State ahead of his own short-term political prospects.
The Tasmanian Liberals have already committed to establishing, and funding, an Anti Corruption and Ethics Commission, implementing a strict new code of conduct for ministers and advisers and an independent inquiry into the size of the Tasmanian Parliament.
We will consider the report in its entirety as a matter of urgency.