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Community Concerns over Minister Gate-Crashing Inquiry (Melbourne Parliament)

When the Standing Committee on Finance and Public Administration hearing convened to hear from Peta Duke on 12 March 2010, she did not attend in answer to the summons. She had written the notorious Media Plan proposing a sham public consultation process to earn favour with the electorate. Mr Madden, who had not been summoned, sat in the chair reserved for the witness – his former Ministerial adviser - and said that he would answer questions. This was a blatant attempt to take over the inquiry being carried out by Parliament into his office’s conduct. - Protectors of Public Lands (Victoria)

When the Standing Committee on Finance and Public Administration hearing convened to hear from Peta Duke on 12 March 2010, she did not attend in answer to the summons. She had written the notorious Media Plan proposing a sham public consultation process to earn favour with the electorate. Mr Madden, who had not been summoned, sat in the chair reserved for the witness – his former Ministerial adviser - and said that he would answer questions. This was a blatant attempt to take over the inquiry being carried out by Parliament into his office’s conduct.

By his crass tactics in derailing the hearing of a properly constituted committee, the Minister of Planning has tried to frustrate the accountability to Parliament of himself and his office. The Premier and the Attorney-General have supported this tactic.

"Grave abuse of power"

This impropriety strikes at the heart of Parliamentary democracy and is a grave abuse of power.

Julianne Bell, Secretary of Protectors of Public Land, Victoria, (PPL Vic), attended the hearing. She commented:

“The Minister had the opportunity to explain himself during the nine hours of debate on the subject the previous Wednesday but chose not to attend. Why would he expect a hearing now?

Minister failed to use legitimate opportunities to explain himself

Over the last six months PPL has made extensive submissions to both the Planning Department and Heritage Victoria on proposed policy, and on planning decisions, including:
• the Review of VCAT (Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal),
• the extension of the Urban Growth Boundary,
• the Mornington Peninsula Link (through Westerfolds);
• the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show in the Carlton Gardens; and
• the Windsor Hotel development.

Any suggestion that public consultation could be treated as a sham is of grave concern to PPL disclosing as it does a cynical attitude to the people of Victoria. The actions of the Minister have now treated the Parliament, to which he is accountable, and which represents the people of Victoria, with contempt. The community expects our democracy to be respected.”

"Scandalous situation made worse"

Brian Walters SC, President of PPL Vic, said:

“Minister Madden has made a scandalous situation far worse. As found by the Children Overboard inquiry in the Senate, ministerial advisers have no immunity from appearing before parliamentary committees, yet it seems the Government has attempted to direct or advise her to disobey the summons to do so. This undermines the rule of law and Parliamentary oversight. If the Minister’s office is not accountable to Parliament, we have lost one of the most fundamental checks of our democratic system.”

Source: Press Release from PPL (Vic), 14 March 2010

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Comments

What a joke... You centre a guy then hold the trial… lol

i still can't believe the oppostion get away with wasting every wednesday running their own agenda...

even more shocking is Greg Barber who referred to his job as unpaid... i wish i was like him getting $120,000