Paul Omodei

Paul Omodei


    Minister rejects accusations by former Cockburn mayor.

    5/05/2000 1:58 PM

    Local Government Minister Paul Omodei has totally rejected accusations by former Cockburn Mayor John Grljusich that the suspension of the Cockburn Council was politically motivated.

    “I appreciate that John probably wants to find a smokescreen to hide the serious findings made against him in the inquiry report tabled in Parliament yesterday, but even in that context a political conspiracy theory is a fantasy,” Mr Omodei said.

    “No matter how thick he tries to make the smokescreen, the facts will still shine through.

    “Firstly, the council was suspended in April last year after a departmental inquiry which was triggered by Mr Grljusich himself.

    “He came to see me to complain about staff not carrying out instructions, and it was these complaints that convinced the Executive Director of the Department of Local Government to launch an inquiry.

    “Secondly, the council was suspended on the advice of the Crown Solicitor, and I doubt that even Mr Grljusich would accuse him of being politically motivated.

    “Thirdly, the original departmental inquiry was an executive director’s inquiry, not one established by the Minister.

    “Finally, the question of political motivation was dealt with by the independent inquirer Neil Douglas who said:

    ‘No evidence was advanced to support this political motivation and conspiracy theory. Nor am I aware that any exists.

    ‘Even if they had been substantiated, these attacks on the establishment of the Inquiry would have been irrelevant and, therefore, of no use to a person who considered that he or she faced the risk of an adverse finding.

    ‘As long as the Inquiry itself was, and was seen to be, independent and impartial, the findings of the Inquiry would be largely unaffected by any political motivation which related to its establishment.’

    “I think it is time for Mr Grljusich to admit to the community of Cockburn that some things went off the rails in the Council and it is now time for the people of Cockburn to have a chance to elect a new local government which will be careful to do things lawfully and properly,” Mr Omodei said.

    Media contact Hugh Ryan 9213 6700