The row over the aborted re-appointment of Richard McCreadie as Police Commissioner has triggered a fiery debate in Tasmania’s Upper House.
Senior Government members avoided key questions about the issue and instead attacked their opponents.
An Upper House committee was told last week by the Acting Police Commissioner Darren Hine that he advised the Premier before the job was announced that Mr McCreadie was facing possible criminal charges.
The issue erupted in the Legislative Council with the committee’s chairman, Paul Harriss, asking the Treasurer, Michael Aird, what he knew about the process.
Mr Aird told the council Mr Harriss was neither independent nor impartial.
“If the Honourable Member wants to run the race for the Liberal Party he can,” he said.
Mr Harriss said the Treasurer was treating a serious matter with contempt.
“It’s really quite sad that he can’t just tell the truth.”
“Any casual observation would lead you to the only conclusion and that is that the committee is being entirely fair.
“All it is doing is scrutinising the issues and people are giving their evidence and if they’re telling the truth nobody has anything to fear.”
The Opposition’s Vanessa Goodwin said all that was needed was honest answers.
“I think they’re just making it worse for themselves,” she said.
The Upper House is expected to consider the Integrity Commission Bill late today or tomorrow.
The Premier says he would welcome being investigated and would be happy to be the first person to appear before before the new Integrity Commission.
“Absolutely, no problem with that at all,” he said.
“There’s a committee of the Upper House, such as it is, going on at the moment as an inquiry into this.
“We’ll let them have their inquiry and carry on.”
The Deputy Premier, Lara Giddings, says she has total confidence in Mr Bartlett and the situation shows why the government’s Integrity Commission Bill must pass.
“Politicians investigating politicians and what do you get? You get politics,” she said.
Mr Harriss has joined calls for the McCreadie matter to be dealt with sooner through a commission of inquiry.
Mr McCreadie has not faced any charges.