- Corruption, Crime and Misconduct Amendment Bill 2020 to be introduced into State Parliament
- Bill provides for the reappointment of CCC Commissioner John McKechnie QC for a period of five years commencing on April 28, 2020
The McGowan Government is taking the unprecedented step of introducing legislation that would see the reappointment of Commissioner John McKechnie QC to Western Australia's premier integrity agency.
Mr McKechnie's term as the head of the Corruption and Crime Commission (CCC) expires on April 28, 2020. Mr McKechnie is the only Commissioner to serve a full term and the first to seek reappointment.
Mr McKechnie was the outstanding candidate of the three eligible nominees identified by the nominating committee, which was chaired by the Chief Justice of Western Australia, the Hon. Peter Quinlan SC.
However, the parliamentary Joint Standing Committee on the Corruption and Crime Commission (JSCCCC) was unable to provide majority and bipartisan support for his reappointment.
The Government will be seeking the support of the Parliament to deal with the Bill expeditiously this week.
If the Bill is passed, it will ensure bipartisan and majority support of the whole of Parliament, not just the JSCCCC, for Mr McKechnie's reappointment to this important role.
Comments attributed to Premier Mark McGowan:
"The reappointment of Mr McKechnie is in the best interests of Western Australia. An independent expert panel identified him as the outstanding candidate to continue in the role.
"I wrote to the Leader of the Opposition seeking her support to ensure the nomination of Mr McKechnie receives bipartisan and majority support.
"Unfortunately, the Opposition Leader has yet to provide that assistance.
"Mr McKechnie has the support of the State Government, and is widely accepted by the public and the legal profession as the best choice to continue to lead the CCC as it pursues several important inquiries, which began under his stewardship.
"With Western Australia being in a State of Emergency, now is not the time to be changing leaders of the State's premier integrity agency and he must be allowed to continue his important work.
"I hope all members of Parliament agree that this matter needs to be dealt with expeditiously this week so Mr McKechnie can continue his important work of busting corruption."
Comments attributed to Attorney General John Quigley:
"Mr McKechnie's record as Commissioner is second to none.
"Mr McKechnie is presently leading a number of important investigations and the continuity of these would be interrupted if a new Commissioner was appointed or if we found ourselves without a Commissioner to lead the agency.
"Mr McKechnie has led investigations into North Metropolitan Health Service procurement, the former trade commissioner to Japan Craig Peacock, the activities of the former clinical trials manager at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, and the activities of Paul Whyte who has allegedly stolen government funds over a number of years.
"For the Commissioner who presided over these operations to not be reappointed would be a cause for significant concern and criticism.
"Significantly, Mr McKechnie has commenced investigations into the risk of electoral allowances being misused by some Liberal parliamentarians.
"In the absence of any public argument against his reappointment, it would be open for the community to infer that politicians are vetoing Mr McKechnie to stymie his investigation of their expenses. This perception would bring State Parliament into disrepute and cannot be allowed to stand.
"I urge all sides of politics to support this urgent Bill to ensure Mr McKechnie's reappointment."
Premier's office - 6552 5000
Attorney General's office - 6552 6800