Attorney-General John Rau’s speech to the Watchdogs and Whistleblowers Integrity Conference today will be one of great irony given that South Australia is the most secretive state in Australia.
The Watchdogs and Whistleblowers Integrity Conference states that it will:
“…provide a snapshot of South Australian integrity and anti-corruption measures and reforms, along with an understanding of why measures exist, what can go wrong and what systems should be in place to ensure institutional integrity.” (https://openstate.com.au)
The Weatherill Labor Government took two years to introduce the ICAC and Whistleblower reforms which were recommended by Bruce Lander QC.
Earlier this year, the State Liberals introduced shield laws to protect whistleblowers, allowing journalists to legally protect their sources.
The Weatherill Labor Government have firstly blocked this legislation despite shield laws operating in most other states and at the Commonwealth level.
The Government has also tried to introduce laws to make it much harder for journalists and third parties to access information from the Courts in criminal matters.
The Labor Government has blocked the legislation to allow public servants from “going public” if there is no action on a whistleblower complaint.
Yesterday, the Auditor-General revealed that Cabinet had approved a policy that information on Cabinet decision-making, including Cabinet submissions and notes and comments and advice provided relevant to Cabinet documents, will not be provided to investigative agencies.
“Under the Weatherill Labor Government, South Australia is the most secretive state in Australia,” said Shadow Attorney-General Vickie Chapman.
“Protection against the abuse of executive power requires an independent judiciary, a democratic Parliament and freedom of the press.
“This does not exist under the Weatherill Labor Government.
“The Weatherill Labor Government has sent a clear message to the media and the general public that it does not want to operate openly and transparently.”