Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Current ACT Chief Minister accused of "gross conflict of interest" by Labor predecessor

Canberra Times Letters to the Editor this morning:

"Labor joining the wrong clubs"

I assume it was a coincidence that Chief Minister Andrew Barr launched the new government-friendly CFMEU Clubs Association on the day that submissions to the Legislative Assembly select committee inquiry into the establishment of an independent integrity commission closed.

I don't know if it is just me but the Chief Minister's Trump-like response to Clubs ACT daring to oppose the government over the decision to give the casino poker machines does seem, at best, a tad petulant.

Residents and community organisations are entitled to disagree with and to oppose the actions of government. It's called democracy.

As an aside, I vividly recall it was my colleague Wayne Berry, now a director of the Labor Club, who convinced me that under no circumstances should the casino ever have poker machines. A view I continue to hold.

My fundamental concern about the ACT government's declaration that it will in future only deal with the CFMEU Clubs Association and not Clubs ACT, which represents the overwhelming majority of clubs, is the gross conflict of interest it represents.

The CFMEU is not just affiliated with the ACT branch of the Labor Party, it is the most powerful and influential organ of the party. I would imagine that at least half, if not more, of the Labor members of the ACT Legislative Assembly owe their preselection to the CFMEU.

I think it inevitable that the Assembly select committee into the establishment of an independent integrity commission will recommend such a commission be established. If so, I can see, particularly in light of the position adopted by the government in relation to Clubs ACT, that the first inquiry it undertakes will be into the relationship between the ACT government and the Labor Party and CFMEU group of clubs.

If the Labor Party was smart it would sell the clubs before it comes to that. Jon Stanhope, Bruce"

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