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Integrity Commissioner asked to investigate Courtney matter after Premier’s failure

  • Too many gaps in “investigation” leave serious questions unanswered
  • Premier’s failure to properly and thoroughly investigate
  • Tasmanians need transparency – not secrecy – from government

Labor will formally refer the Sarah Courtney matter and her confirmed breach of the Ministerial Code of Conduct to Tasmania’s Integrity Commissioner for thorough investigation.

Labor Transparency Committee Chair Jo Siejka said the matter warranted further investigation after independent consultant Damian Bugg had confirmed Ms Courtney breached the code but questions about remained about the scope of the wider investigation.

“Tasmanians need openness and transparency from their government and they are not getting that from this rushed inquiry – they are getting secrecy,” Ms Siejka said.

“It’s been established that Ms Courtney breached the code over her relationship with DPIPWE Secretary Dr John Whittington.

“But there are serious questions about how this investigation was conducted, particularly that staff in Ms Courtney’s agency volunteered to give evidence but were not interviewed.

“There are also serious concerns that despite the Premier moving Ms Courtney to another portfolio, by her own admission she will still be required to make decisions in relation to DPIPWE matters and be professionally involved with Dr Whittington.

“Additionally, the entire scope of the investigation needs to be looked into and issues need to be raised, such as the concern that taxpayer funds may have been used or misused.

“The Premier’s conclusion that all decisions Ms Courtney made while she was Primary Industries Minister were above board cannot be accepted while these questions linger.

“The Premier has not treated this very serious matter with the depth it requires.”

Jo Siejka MLC
Labor Transparency Committee Chair