MEDIA STATEMENT – Cabinet-in-Confidence Macquarie Point Stadium transparency

Independent members welcome Premier Jeremy Rockliff’s announcement for a consultative approach to enable transparency in relation to the Cabinet-in-Confidence Macquarie Point Stadium documents.

In response to Premier Jeremy Rockliff’s recent letter to the Leader of the Opposition, Leader of the Greens, and the Independent Members of the House of Assembly, the Independent Members express their support for a more consultative approach while highlighting the long- overdue nature of this action.

The Premier’s letter came after Tuesday’s motion by Labor, and Wednesday’s motion by the Greens, requesting transparency around reports and advice from Government agencies which remain hidden behind the veil of cabinet confidentiality.

The Independent Members stress that though the Department of Premier and Cabinet will be tasked with seeking independent legal advice, to review the rules governing Cabinet-in- Confidence documents, the resulting report and recommendations, which will be brought back to the House of Assembly on August 8, 2023, must be approved by Parliament.

Independent Member for Lyons, Mr John Tucker, said that all Members of Parliament, regardless of party affiliation, must have the opportunity to provide input into the new rules – regarding Cabinet-in-Confidence document disclosures – as they will be the ones working within the new rules over future parliaments.

“As the Rockliff Government embarks upon this overdue consultative journey, Mrs Alexander, other Members of the House, and I urge them to ensure that all relevant stakeholders are included in the decision-making process. By incorporating input from qualified and respected members of the legal fraternity, the Clerk of the House of Assembly, and the Solicitor-General, the resulting proposal will be robust and comprehensive”, Mr Tucker said.

“As Independent Members, we firmly believe that the abuse of Cabinet-in-Confidence as a mechanism to withhold information or impede its release must come to an immediate halt. The government’s responsibility lies within the Parliament, not as an alternative to it. It was never the intention of the Westminster system of government that it should operate autonomously and independent of its obligations to Parliament,” Mr Tucker added.

The Independent Member for Bass, Lara Alexander, said that her training as a Certified Practising Accountant and extensive working experience in governance and risk management, informed her that no organisation, which valued integrity, transparency, and social licence, functions independently of its board or shareholders.

“The government, as the operational wing of the Parliament, must be accountable to its board (the Parliament) and its shareholders (the people of the State). The Rockliff Government appears to have lost sight of this fundamental principle. We demand businesses jump through hoops when it comes to governance, risk management, and financial liquidity; so why should we expect anything less from Government?” Mrs Alexander asked.

“The Labor opposition, the Greens, and the Independent Members have played a crucial role in holding the government accountable, dragging it back to the reality of its responsibilities. The current situation highlights the urgent need to restore a process where the government is answerable to the Parliament and the people it represents.

“As Independent Members holding the government to account on behalf of the Parliament, we have asked repeatedly for an end to the government’s habit of drip-feeding documents for scrutiny and retaining them under the guise of Cabinet-in-Confidence. It is time to restore faith in the democratic process and uphold the principles of accountability, transparency, and open governance,” Mrs Alexander said.

Thursday 22nd June, 2023.

  

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