The State Liberals will today introduce legislation into the South Australian Parliament that would provide the Independent Commissioner Against Corruption with the power to hold hearings into maladministration in public.
The Weatherill Government is implacably opposed to having the ICAC Commissioner Bruce Lander conduct hearings into the Oakden scandal in public.
“The State Liberals will end the toxic culture of secrecy and cover-up that has poisoned South Australia during 15 years of Labor Government,” said State Liberal Leader Steven Marshall.
“We will provide the Corruption Commissioner with the powers to hold public hearings to ensure the people of South Australia fully understand how elderly patients suffering dementia came to be treated in such an appalling manner.
“The State Liberals long stated position has been for ICAC to conduct more open and transparent proceedings.
“Commissioner Lander has recognised that in respect of issues relating to serious or systemic maladministration the capacity to conduct public hearings when appropriate is a critical component of the democratic process.
“The Weatherill Government is desperate to avoid public hearings regarding its failure to protect elderly patients at Oakden from abuse and neglect.
“Jay Weatherill’s fatuous claims that he accepts responsibility for his Government’s failings at Oakden are fatally undermined by his opposition to public hearings.
“No Labor Government Minister has taken responsibility for a decade of abuse and neglect of patients at Oakden and denying the Commissioner’s request to conduct the hearing in public is designed to maintain the status quo.
“Despite the appalling conditions exposed in the Chief Psychiatrist’s report into Oakden, Jay Weatherill remains Premier, Jack Snelling remains Health Minister and Leesa Vlahos is still the Minister for Mental Health.
“Commissioner Lander has indicated he is interested in determining who is responsible for the Oakden scandal – Jay Weatherill clearly isn’t.”