In Legal Affairs

Northern Territory Shadow Minister for Communications Adam Giles

Silencing Critics

Victor P Taffa

The Labor Government continues to starve the Ombudsman of the resources she requires to properly do her job.

Shadow Minister for Communications Adam Giles said the outdated nature of her computer software system and a staffing cap had contributed to the delay in tabling her annual report.

“As a key watchdog of Government failure and maladministration, the Ombudsman has to be adequately resourced.” Mr. Giles said.

“The Ombudsman has a crucial role to play in ensuring Government services are being properly delivered to Territorians adequate resourcing is a cornerstone of the Ombudsman’s operations.”

“The Government was severely embarrassed by the release last year of the Ombudsman’s report into the death of hundreds of cattle at Mataranka Station and has moved to curtail the Ombudsman’s review of Child Protection services.”

“Instead of hindering the Ombudsman’s work through under resourcing, the Government should facilitate her work through adequate funding.” Mr. Giles said.

“Ombudsman Carolyn Richards sat beside Chief Minister; Clare Martin at the 2006-07 Estimates hearings and made it clear her office needed additional resources.”

“Additional resourcing is essential if the Ombudsman’s office is to properly fulfil its statutory obligations.” Mr. Giles said.

Mr. Giles said Labor has a long track record of trying to silence its critics.

“Senior bureaucrats have intimidated hospital staffs who were critical of the child protection system, the Government has pursued whistle-blowers who leaked Government plans to introduce fishing permits and Labor minders leaked details to the media of a Police raid on the Lord Mayor’s house.”

“This Government’s aversion to criticism shouldn’t mean key agencies like the Ombudsman remain under-funded.” Mr. Giles said.


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