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Open Oakden hearings blocked

State Liberal Leader Steven Marshall has slammed a culture of secrecy that saw the Weatherill Labor Government and the Independents block legislation to provide the Independent Commissioner Against Corruption with the power to hold public hearings into the Oakden scandal.

“Today the Weatherill Labor Government and its Independent supporters turned their backs on the recommendation of the ICAC Commissioner Bruce Lander, the pleas of the families of abused patients and the wider South Australian community,” said State Liberal Leader Steven Marshall.

“Today’s vote confirms that Jay Weatherill is desperate to avoid public hearings into the failings of his Government during the Oakden scandal.

“It also confirms the so-called Independents are nothing more than Labor puppets.

“The Independents had the opportunity to act in the interest of transparency and rectify their profound mistake of opposing open hearings into the Oakden scandal.

“The only people in South Australia who are against public hearings and increased transparency are the Labor caucus, Mr Hamilton-Smith and Mr Brock.

“The Independents should have cast off the cloak of secrecy and voted for open, public investigation into the Oakden scandal.

“There is an avalanche of support for public hearings, from the families of Oakden residents, to the general public, and a broad cross-section of the Parliament.

“Yesterday the Liberal Party and the minor parties in the Upper House voted in favour of empowering the ICAC to conduct public hearings into maladministration at the discretion of the Commissioner.

“This is yet another example of just how far out of touch the tired, old and arrogant Weatherill Labor Government has become.

“Commissioner Lander has recognised that in respect of issues relating to serious or systemic maladministration the capacity to conduct public hearings when appropriate is critical.

“Jay Weatherill’s claims that he accepts responsibility for his Government’s failings at Oakden are fatally undermined by his opposition to public hearings.”