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Parliamentary Questions

Question Without Notice No. 589 asked in the Legislative Council on 16 June 2020 by Hon Peter Collier

Parliament: 40 Session: 1

Answered on

CORRUPTION AND CRIME COMMISSIONER — REAPPOINTMENT

589. Hon PETER COLLIER to the Leader of the House representing the Premier:

I refer to the letter from the Premier to the Leader of the Opposition dated 7 April 2020 regarding the appointment of a Corruption and Crime Commissioner, wherein the Premier said —

We have been supplied with a list of the ongoing and emerging operational activities of the Commission which would be interrupted by a change of Commissioner at this time, or by the absence of any Commissioner (with an acting Commissioner stepping into the role).

(1) Why has the government now chosen to leave the post of commissioner vacant and have only an acting commissioner in place until sometime after the March 2021 election?

(2) Given the alleged importance of having a Corruption and Crime Commissioner, why has the government refused to appoint either of the other candidates who were recommended as suitable?

(3) What operational activities is the government concerned a new commissioner will not pursue?

Hon SUE ELLERY replied:

I thank the honourable member for some notice of the question.

(1) The honourable member is mistaken. The government has not chosen to leave the post of commissioner vacant; rather, the government's efforts to reappoint Hon John McKechnie, QC, have been frustrated and blocked by the Parliamentary Liberal Party.

(2) I draw the honourable member's attention to a quote from the letter from the Chief Justice of Western Australia, Hon Peter Quinlan, on behalf of the CCC nominating committee, which states —

� in the Committee's view, the Hon John McKechnie QC is the outstanding nominee for the position. He has extensive experience and a demonstrated capacity in the role, which he has carried out independently and with great integrity. Indeed, this appointment is required only because of Mr McKechnie's current term expiry. His reappointment will also provide continuity in the position.

I firmly believe that Western Australia should not be denied the outstanding candidate.

(3) Not applicable. Given the statement in the answer to (2), the Premier believes that the interests of Western Australia and, indeed, the CCC would be best served by the institutional continuity that would be delivered by the reappointment of Hon John McKechnie, QC.