Government opaque on leaks

10 January 2019

The Attorney-General has abrogated her responsibility for upholding the integrity of government and refused to refer alleged leaks of confidential government correspondence to the Northern Territory Police or the Independent Commissioner Against Corruption (ICAC).

The Opposition wrote to Minister Fyles on 2 January, raising the issue of a leaked letter to media from Ken Vowles MLA to the Northern Land Council containing details of a $10 million offer for the purchase of commercial fishing licenses and allegations from Mr Vowles that other confidential communications had been also leaked to the media.

"Our request that the Attorney-General refer this matter to ICAC or Police was not taken lightly," Opposition Leader Gary Higgins said. "The allegations voiced by Mr Vowles and others suggest that a serious criminal offence may have been committed, including violation of section 76 of the Criminal Code Act which is punishable by 3 to 5 years imprisonment."

"We believe that, as the chief law officer in the Territory, it is the Attorney-General’s duty to refer this issue to the Police or ICAC for investigation, in the interest of maintaining government integrity.

"There has been a serious breach of the public trust committed concerning ministers, MLAs, advisers and/or staff of the Labor Government. A breach which requires investigation.

"For the Attorney-General to now handball the issue is an abandonment of her duties but sadly no surprise. Labor has made an art of dodging responsibility and playing the blame game.

"The Opposition will refer these allegations to the ICAC for examination – someone has to act, clearly the Labor Government doesn’t want to."

See links to copy of the letter to the Attorney-General and attachments, copy of the Attorney-General’s response

 Attorney-General's Response