Michael Ferguson referred for Code of Conduct investigation
- All avenues must be used to get to the truth
- Ferguson’s refusal to answer basic questions should compel Premier to finally act
- Tasmanians can have no trust in Health Minister as serious questions remain
Labor will formally request Premier Hodgman stage a Ministerial Code of Conduct investigation into Health Minister Michael Ferguson over his role in the Cricket Australia scandal.
Labor Leader Rebecca White said while a referral to Tasmania Police was still under consideration, it was critical Premier Hodman also inquire into whether Michael Ferguson had breached the Ministerial Code of Conduct over allegations he disclosed the private medical details of Angela Williamson in the lead-up to her dismissal in June.
Ms White said the Premier states in his own Ministerial Code of Conduct – released on 21 March this year – that he demands the highest standards, including:
- Ministers must not mislead Parliament or the public in statements they make and are obliged to correct the Parliamentary or the public record in a manner that is appropriate to the circumstances as soon as possible after any incorrect statement is made
- Ministers are to treat everyone with respect, courtesy and in a fair and equitable manner without harassment, victimisation or discrimination
Consequences for breaching the Code range from counselling and reprimand to recommending to the Governor a Minister be dismissed.
“Premier Hodgman himself says in the Code that his Ministers are to act with integrity and commit to the highest standards of honesty, professionalism and accountability,” Ms White said.
“The very serious allegation regarding Michael Ferguson – that he disclosed Ms Williamson’s private medical information – would constitute a very clear breach of the values and standards Premier Hodman claims he demands.
“The Premier claims Michael Ferguson is in the clear but has never revealed if a Code of Conduct investigation was undertaken before coming to this conclusion.
‘If it was the Premier should release it in full.”
Shadow Attorney General Ella Haddad said Michael Ferguson had refused to answer a very simple yes-or-no question around allegedly disclosing information.
“If Premier Hodgman refuses to act it will be yet another example of his failure to stand up for women. He has an opportunity to do the right thing and investigate whether Michael Ferguson’s behaviour has breached the Ministerial Code of Conduct,” Ms Haddad said.