Peg Putt, Press Release

“This was the standing down that Tasmania had to have, but again it is too little too late from Tasmania’s Premier,” Ms Putt said.


Peg Putt MHA

Greens Opposition Leader

Saturday, 15 JULY 2006


But Too Little Too Late Leaves His Leadership Qualities in Question

The Tasmanian Greens today said that the Premier’s action in standing down his Deputy was necessary but overdue, and his preparedness to foreshadow reinstating Bryan Green if no illegality is proven in his actions was a minimalist approach to upholding Ministerial standards.

Greens Opposition Leader Peg Putt MHA said the leadership of Paul Lennon was still under a cloud as the Premier had been repeatedly forced to take action after events around the unfolding story of Minister Green’s agreement with the Tasmanian Compliance Corporation got away from him, and that his preference for standing with his Labor mates ahead of strong disciplinary action had not only harmed his standing as Premier, but also Tasmania’s reputation.

Attached is a timeline of key Parliamentary events which contributed to the unravelling of Labor’s stonewall over the TCC deal details.

“This was the standing down that Tasmania had to have, but again it is too little too late from Tasmania’s Premier,” Ms Putt said.

“It is an extremely serious development that the DPP is now investigating on the Solicitor General’s advice the possibility of this Minister having committed a criminal offence, yet this was only uncovered when our Parliamentary questions kept pin-pointing further problems long after this man claimed to have made a clean breast of things.”

“Obviously the four week long Parliamentary tooth-pulling exercise kept revealing new matters to the Premier which his Deputy had not told him, yet he is still prepared to excuse the TCC deal and that ongoing misleading behaviour if no criminal charges are brought.”

“Bryan Green should never resume his Ministerial post.”

“The failure to sack this man and make an end of his Ministerial career is poor leadership from Premier Lennon and still leaves his enforcement of his Code of Conduct for Government Members in tatters.”

“It also reflects badly on the Premier that instead of acting decisively weeks ago when this scandal first came light, Mr Lennon has instead been forced to finally act due to unrelenting pressure in Parliament that has dragged new information to light, just like pulling teeth.”

“For example it was the Greens who managed to get out of the Attorney-General’s Budget Estimate Committee hearing, on Friday the 30th of June, that the TCC deal was signed two days prior the state election being called, and the fact that Minister Kons did not believe that commercial-in-confidence concerns apply to the TCC deal, despite both the Premier and the Deputy Premier repeatedly refusing to answer these questions earlier.”

“Again, the Premier and Deputy Premier thought they had almost got away with stonewalling the TCC controversy until Greens MHA Kim Booth raised in Parliament after Labor defeated the combined no confidence motion, the disturbing sequence over the controversial exclusivity clause nine where the department had advised that such a provision was ‘unacceptable’, but the Minister’s Office had directed that it be reinserted following objections from the TCC’s representative.”

“It was apparent then that this was news to the Premier, despite the Deputy Premier alleging he had divulged all to Mr Lennon, as was later revelations at the end of the Parliamentary session that Mr Green had knocked back another application by BPACT to be an accrediting body in competition to the TCC.”

“Finally taking action now when it is so blatantly inevitable is not a sign of leadership by the Premier,” Ms Putt said.

The Unanswered Questions that Unravelled Labor’s Stonewall

Despite Labor’s attempt to stonewall the TCC scandal, repeatedly the Tasmanian Greens reignited the debate by revealing that the Deputy Premier had not fully disclosed all matters surrounding the TCC deal. The Deputy Premier’s failure to disclose fully also then implicated the Premier in potentially misleading the Parliament, and ensure that the smell surrounding the scandal grew.

The list of questions put by the Greens to both the Deputy Premier and the Premier to which they refused to provide detailed answers include:

? Who originally drafted the Agreement, was it the TCC’s John White or his agent?

? During February this year, did senior departmental staff advise the Minister’s Office that clause 9 granting exclusivity to the TCC was “unacceptable” and prepared a document for signing with this clause deleted?

? Did the Minister’s Office or the Minister then, following John White’s personal intervention, instruct the department to re draft a new Service Level Agreement restoring clause 9?

? And if this is the case what date was that instruction given?

? Can the Minister confirm that the Service Level Agreement was not meant to see the light of day unless there was a change of government?

? Although the Minister states that he did not “sight” the Crown Law advice received by his office (divulged after questioning by the Greens), was he informed of the substance of that legal advice?

? Did the Minister inform the Premier, during their meeting following the Australian article, that he had been advised that the exclusivity clause 9 was “unacceptable” by his department, and that another version of the SLA without that clause had been prepared, but that his office had instructed the department to re-insert that a clause 9 restoring exclusivity following intervention by John White?

? The Premier has also refused to answer whether the Minister disclosed to him the above chain of events regarding the contentious “unacceptable” clause 9 provisions.

? Bryan Green refused to answer whether his Ministerial predecessor in Infrastructure, Mr Cox, indicated he was “happy to approve,” BPACT if it were found by the director of building control to meet legislative requirements, and that in January 2004 the Director found BPACT was compliant?

? Bryan Green refused to answer whether it was a fact that after he replaced Mr Cox he decided in MAY 2004 not to authorize BPACT saying this was partly because competition could render TCC “financially unviable.”

? Bryan Green refused to answer whether he sought advice regarding the financial viability of the TCC, and whether it comprised personal lobbying by John White or some sort of Departmental assessment, and refused to make it public?

? Bryan Green refused to answer why his spokesperson yesterday said his decision was partly based on advice from the Director of Building Control about a lack of independence and transparency of BPACT’s scheme, when the Director had actually found BPACT compliant in 2004?

Timeline: Jul15_TCC_Timeline_Update_P_Putt_ATTACH.doc