Non-government Community Workers
Mr CRITTENDEN (Wyong—Parliamentary Secretary) [3.46 p.m.]: The motion I foreshadowed earlier today is urgent because the Federal budget will be brought down next Tuesday night.
Former Commissioner of Police End of Contract Payment
Mr TINK (Epping) [3.46 p.m.]: My motion is urgent because advice indicates that it is arguable on the facts as presently known that Mr Ryan, by not disclosing the fact that he had already agreed to accept a job with the Athens Olympics, did not conduct negotiations in good faith and, accordingly, breached an implied term in his contract of employment. The motion is urgent because of advice that a serious issue arises as to whether a letter dated 8 April 2002 disclosed the real reason for Mr Ryan wanting to have his contract of employment brought to an end. The motion is urgent because of advice that it is arguable that Mr Ryan breached his duty of good faith in conducting negotiations with the New South Wales Government concerning the termination of his contract of employment. Accordingly, the Government may have a civil action available to it to recover the moneys that were paid to Mr Ryan.
The motion is urgent because of advice that the authorisation of the payment to Mr Ryan, in circumstances where the Premier or the Minister for Police knew or ought to have known that Mr Ryan was not entitled to payment because they were aware that he was resigning of his own volition or was seeking to end his contract, may have constituted or involved a breach of public trust, as they may knowingly have been advantaging Mr Ryan for an unacceptable reason to the detriment of the people of New South Wales. The motion is urgent because of advice that, prima facie, the recommendation to the Governor by the Minister does not appear to have been based on any consideration other than the facilitation of payment of the sum of 12 months remuneration to Mr Ryan. It follows that it is arguable that the power was exercised for an improper purpose by the Minister.
The motion is urgent because of advice that there appears to have been a reckless disregard by the Premier and the Minister about whether Mr Ryan was entitled to receive a termination payment. Further, the payment appears to have been made in reckless disregard by the Premier and the Minister of the principles set out in the Premier's Model Code of Conduct for New South Wales Public Agencies. The motion is urgent because of advice that, prima facie, it is arguable that both the Premier and the Minister have engaged in corrupt conduct within the meaning of section 8 of the Independent Commission Against Corruption Act. The motion is urgent because these matters arise from the knowledge, which at this point still has not been traversed, that Mr Ryan had accepted the job with the Athens Olympics prior to approaching the Government in relation to the termination of his employment. The motion is urgent because the circumstances in which it could be suggested that the Premier or the Minister engaged in corrupt conduct include:
(a) The Premier or Minister were aware the statements of Mr Ryan in his letter dated 8 April 2002 were a sham and nonetheless authorised payment. This would have involved the partial exercise of their official functions in that they would have knowingly advantaged Mr Ryan for an unacceptable reason...
(b) The Premier or the Minister were aware that Mr Ryan had accepted another job prior to 8 April 2002. Again this would have involved the partial exercise of their official functions in that they would have knowingly advantaged Mr Ryan for an unacceptable reason (to the detriment of the citizens of NSW); citizens); and
(c) The Premier and the Minister were aware that Mr Ryan had resigned of his own volition and was seeking to terminate the contract at his initiative (which is what Parliament was told on 10 and 11 April 2002) and nonetheless authorised payment.
All these matters are matters of grave concern. I believe that they deserve to be cleared up; it is in the public interest that they be cleared up. I believe, therefore, that it is entirely appropriate that the circumstances surrounding the removal of the former police commissioner from office should be investigated by the Independent Commission against Corruption. The advice provided by a senior barrister regularly briefed by the Government in employment and industrial matters, and a person whose political prejudices are neutral in the sense that he successfully prosecuted the former Chief Minister of the Northern Territory in relation to certain matters arising in the Federal Court, contains bona fide concerns that must be cleared up.
The advice is based upon the circumstances surrounding the termination of Mr Ryan, such as they are known, from material gleaned in Parliament, the conflicting statements of the Minister in the other place, and material in press releases and the media. We should not have to try to join up the dots like this. It leads to an extremely unsatisfactory situation. The full facts should be put before the ICAC so that it can assure the people of New South Wales as to process. In short, one of my key concerns is that in the Clayton Utz letter the Minister for Police indicated that Mr Ryan was prepared to proceed with the reform process, but he appears before then to have accepted employment in Athens. These matters must be cleared up under the overall matrix of the ICAC and legal advice based on all the facts. [Time expired].
Question—That the motion for urgent consideration of the honourable member for Wyong be proceeded with—agreed to.