19 December 2007

A-G pooh-poohs call for SA anti-corruption commission

In this week's Independent Weekly Hendrik Gout reports that SA Attorney-General Michael Atkinson has brushed aside the call made by Peter Beattie (about which I posted recently) for an independent anti-corruption body in SA.

"There is no need to set up a separate body," Mr Atkinson's spokesman said. "There's no suggestion that there's any corruption in South Australia. No corruption has been uncovered."

He said SA had sufficient existing bodies to investigate allegations of corruption, including police, the police complaints authority, and the auditor-general.

"The public interest is better served by the anti-corruption functions not being monopolised," Mr Atkinson said. "If a local complainant is not satisfied with one agency's response, he can hawk it to another."

If this is so, can the Attorney say why the recently retired SA Auditor - General and a now retired federal MHR from his own Labor party have both supported the establishment of an anti-corruption body?

The Attorney also couldn't say when (or even if) SA would have a register of lobbyists along the lines proposed by Prime Minister Rudd:

Mr Atkinson could not say when SA would have a register of lobbyists. "Earlier in the year I asked the legislation and legal policy section of the Attorney-General's department to study regulation of lobbyists in other States and countries," Mr Atkinson told The Independent Weekly. "(This) section is nearing completion of that investigation.

"It is not possible to definitively place a time-frame on the measures until we have seen the implementation of these proposals at a federal level and see how they work in practice."

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