NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard has questioned whether the state’s anti-corruption body should conduct preliminary investigations “behind closed doors” over the fallout from Friday’s resignation. Gladys Berejiklian continuous.
Hazard, the former New South Wales attorney general, on Sunday hailed Berejiklian as a prime minister of “high integrity”, saying he had “strong opinions” on the matter. Independent Anti-Corruption Commission.
Hazard said his government is not focused on reforming Icac, but said he was listening to “the community’s opinion” about the commission.
“We need ICAC, there is no doubt that we need ICAC,” he told reporters within a week. Briefing on Covid-19.
“But whether it’s more akin to the Hong Kong model, where these are dealt with behind closed doors until there is really … sufficient case, is a matter that I think the community will consider and discuss.
But these issues are not the issues we are focusing on now. And we shouldn’t be.”
Icak announced on Friday That she was investigating Berejiklian as part of Operation Keppel, an investigation that focused on the actions of her former partner and former Wagga Wagga deputy Daryl Maguire.
This announcement led to Berejiklian’s resignation. In her resignation letter, the prime minister said the matters were “historic” and had already been discussed.
Friday’s events drew some criticism of ICAC, including from former Liberal Federal MP Philip Ruddock, who aired similar criticism of Hazard in nine newspapers Sunday.
He said ICAC should act as the Director of Public Prosecutions and work privately to determine if a person has a case to answer, before the case is brought to open court.
ICAC already has the authority to conduct private hearings. I have done so in recent major investigations, including McGuire’s investigation and the 2019 Donations Investigation To the Workers’ Party by Chinese billionaire Huang Xiangmou.
Supporters of the NSW Icac, such as Geoffrey Watson SC, a former counselor who helps, say the public hearings have enormous benefits.
“One of the great benefits of public inquiries in particular is that people come forward, and sometimes they come forward, and they are too afraid to do so,” Watson said.
“Some of them have a real fear of revealing information, and it was at their personal expense, but they do it, they move on. And you find out more and more. It’s a good thing, I take that as a very positive sign as the investigation grows and spreads.”
A series of NSW ministers spoke out in support of Berejiklian on Sunday.
Hazard said it was “extremely sad” that her resignation was forced.
“What I would say about the Prime Minister is that I think she has been an amazing Prime Minister, a person of high integrity, and someone I would absolutely place my trust in. And I think that is what the NSW community has done as well over the past 120 months.”
“It is very sad that this has happened.”
NSW Transport Minister Andrew Constance, who announced his exit from state policy on Sunday, said he was “sad” for Berejiklian.
“Gladys has been a wonderful leader both personally and in the wider community,” Constance said. “Her care and support during Black Summer, where we worked closely together, is something very dear to my heart.”
Berejiklian is being investigated in connection with two grant schemes and links between the recipients and her former lover, former Wagga Wagga MP Daryl Maguire.
ABC previously revealed that Berejiklian had a role in overseeing that grant and that Maguire had advocated for the money and later tried to personally benefit from the grants.
ICAC is still investigating the allegations, and Berejiklian has vehemently denied any wrongdoing.
“I categorically state that I have always acted with the highest level of integrity,” she said.