LABOR TO INTRODUCE LEGISLATION PREVENTING RECKLESS DESTRUCTION OF GOVERNMENT DOCUMENTS
The Premier has refused point-blank to front a parliamentary inquiry to answer serious questions about the ongoing document shredding scandal, as Labor signalled it would introduce legislation banning the destruction of Government information.
NSW Labor Leader Jodi McKay gave notice of the impending legislation after revelations that important documents relating to a quarter of a billion dollar grants program were destroyed.
An upper house inquiry into the misuse of government grants has already heard how this deliberate destruction of government records helped bury the tracks of a scheme where 95 per cent of funding went to Coalition seats in the lead-up to the 2019 election.
An independent investigation by the State Archives and Records Authority found the Premier’s office had broken the law by shredding the documents.
Separately, the Information and Privacy Commissioner referred the matter to the Independent Commission Against Corruption and recommended the creation of an offence covering the reckless destruction of Government information.
Ms McKay said she was shocked to learn she should have to do this but that the current law wasn’t broad enough to address the Government’s inexcusable behaviour.
“This is an important step to ensure trust and integrity in Government after too many scandals and cover ups,” Ms McKay said.
“This Government looks after their own but leaves the rest behind and this must stop. This legislation will help put people first.”
During question time today, Ms McKay insisted the Premier front the upper house inquiry to answer questions about the shredding saga – but Ms Berejiklian repeatedly refused.
“If the Premier has nothing to hide she should agree to appear,” Ms McKay said. “Gladys Berejiklian used public money for political gain. Communities across NSW missed out and then her staff destroyed the evidence to cover it all up. NSW deserves answers.”
The Premier three times refused. Her intransigence was in stark contrast to the attitude of her deputy, John Barilaro, who yesterday appeared and defiantly told the inquiry that throwing huge amounts of cash at particular electorates in a system of distorted election promises was standard practice for the Berejiklian Government.
“You want to call that pork barrelling, you want to call that buying votes, it’s what the elections are for – it’s the democratic process,” Mr Barilaro said.
Ms McKay said the offer to the Premier to explain herself remained open.