Shadow Treasurer Rob Lucas said today the Liberal Party was writing to the Auditor General and the Commissioner for Public Sector Employment asking them to investigate the circumstances behind Mr Weatherill’s CEO Kym Winter-Dewhirst giving lucrative government contracts to a film company.
It has now been confirmed by the Government that a close family member of Mr. Winter-Dewhirst was actually employed by 57 Films which was the firm receiving lucrative contracts without having to go to competitive tender.
S27 of the Public Sector (Honesty and Accountability) Act makes it clear if a CEO ‘has a pecuniary or other personal interest that conflicts or may conflict with the CEO’s duties’ then the CEO must advise his Minister in writing. S27(3) makes it clear that the CEO will be taken to have an ‘interest’ in a matter if a family member of the CEO has an ‘interest’.
S27 states that if the CEO doesn’t advise his Minister it ‘constitutes grounds for termination of the employee’s employment’ and the contract could be ‘avoided’ by the Minister.
Neither Mr Weatherill or Mr Winter-Dewhirst has revealed whether S27 has been complied with and written notice given to Mr Weatherill. Clearly this critical issue must now be independently investigated.
The public service Code of Ethics also makes it clear what a CEO must do when confronted with a conflict or a potential conflict of interest. Again the CEO must advise his Minister in writing of the issue.
Mr Weatherill’s limited public response to the media has been arrogant and appalling:
“The fact that somebody’s daughter might have actually been working in an organization doing some part time work over an extended period of time is nothing to do with it.” (ABC TV 15/12/15)
“That is an extraordinary and outrageous statement by Mr.Weatherill and must be investigated by both the Auditor General and the Commissioner for Public Sector Employment,” said Mr Lucas.
“What Mr Weatherill appears to be defending is a position where all public servants would be able to give lucrative contracts without going to tender to companies that employ some of their family members!
“That is clearly unacceptable and a recipe for chaos.”