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Culture of cover-up continues

The State Liberals have slammed Jay Weatherill’s refusal to detail the cost to South Australian taxpayers of disgraced former Minister Leesa Vlahos’ attempts to suppress her identity in the ICAC report into the Oakden scandal.

“This is another slap in the face for the families of the victims of the Oakden scandal,” said State Liberal Leader Steven Marshall.

“The families of the victims of the Oakden abuse were desperate for the whole truth of the abuse of their loved ones and it is disgraceful that Leesa Vlahos wasted taxpayers’ money trying to keep her name out of the report.

“Jay Weatherill’s refusal to detail how much taxpayers forked out to fund Ms Vlahos’ attempt to supress her identity comes after he praised Ms Vlahos for ‘shining a light’ on the Oakden scandal.

“Commissioner Lander has found that claim to be completely false, variously describing Ms Vlahos as a follower, sometimes belligerent and aggressive, sullen and surly and revealing she shouted at him.

“Jay Weatherill denied the public the right to assess Ms Vlahos’ evidence for themselves when he blocked legislation to enable Commissioner Lander to hold open hearings.

“If successful on the 17th of March I will legislate to empower the ICAC Commissioner to conduct public hearings into matters of maladministration at their discretion.

“The Labor Party’s refusal to cast off the cloak of secrecy and agree to an open, public investigation into Oakden will be judged very harshly by the people of South Australia.

“Jay Weatherill also sought to play down the significance of the ICAC hearing into the Oakden scandal by repeatedly referring to it as an Ombudsman’s investigation.

“Jay Weatherill has spent the last ten months denying his Government’s responsibility in the scandalous abuse of elderly patients at the Oakden facility.

“In just 16 days South Australians will get their chance to show who they hold responsible for this scandal.”