Labor votes against open Oakden hearings

The State Liberals have condemned the Weatherill Government for today blocking legislation to enable ICAC Commissioner Bruce Lander to conduct hearings into the Oakden scandal in public.

“Today the secretive nature of the Weatherill Government was on display in the South Australian Parliament,” said Deputy State Liberal Leader Vickie Chapman.

“Offered the choice of an open, public investigation into the Oakden scandal the Weatherill Government chose to force ICAC Commissioner Bruce Lander to conduct that investigation behind closed doors.

“Offered the choice of explaining to the people of South Australia why he is opposed to an open, public investigation of the Oakden scandal Jay Weatherill refused to address the Parliament.”

Jay Weatherill’s actions today make a mockery of his promise to: “present a government that is open and accountable.”

Jay Weatherill has also claimed in the past that: “Good governments have nothing to hide.”

“Clearly the Weatherill Government has plenty to hide in respect of its conduct regarding Oakden,” said Ms Chapman.

“The fact the Premier has ruled out providing Commissioner Lander with Cabinet documents relating to Oakden further illustrates just how concerned he is about his Government being damaged by the appalling treatment of patients at the facility.

“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 integrity of investigations.

“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 and refusal to provide Cabinet documents to Commissioner Lander.”