13/07/2009 - 14:28

Barnett reveals CCC complaint

13/07/2009 - 14:28

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A complaint has been lodged with the corruption watchdog against Premier Colin Barnett for alleged misconduct over the removal of a Peppermint Grove property from the state heritage list.

Barnett reveals CCC complaint

A complaint has been lodged with the corruption watchdog against Premier Colin Barnett for alleged misconduct over the removal of a Peppermint Grove property from the state heritage list.

Addressing journalists at a conference this afternoon, Mr Barnett revealed he had been informed by the Corruption and Crime Commission of the complaint over his role in the removal of "The Cliffe" property, in the Cottesloe electorate, from the list.

The property owner, prospector Mark Creasy, is understood to have been at loggerheads with the council over his plans to demolish the house for the development of a new dwelling.

Mr Barnett had argued the case for the removal of the property in parliament, with both houses of parliament approving the removal.

Mr Barnett said the allegations suggest that his motivations to remove the property from the heritage list was "in some way designed to benefit my son, Russell Barnett" who was appointed chairman of Bentley-based pharmaceutical company Freedom Eye in May.

Freedom Eye was formally known as Solbec Pharmaceuticals.

Mr Barnett said Mr Creasy is a shareholder of the company.

"I have only become aware of this association since this complaint has been made and knew nothing of it at the time of taking action in relation to 'The Cliffe'," Mr Barnett said.

"This allegation is false and I refute it unequivocally.

"I take particular exception that this allegation involves my son who is not a public figure and played no role whatsoever in my actions with respect to 'The Cliffe'."

The CCC has forwarded the complaint to the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly as comments made by Mr Barnett for the removal of the property from the heritage list was said in parliament, hence parliamentary privileges arises.

It would be left to the Speaker to decide whether the matter should be dealt with by the parliamentary privileges committee, Mr Barnett said.

"I make this statement today in the interests of openness and accountability, principles upon which this government was elected and which I stand by wholeheartedly," Mr Barnett said.

"However, I am restricted in what I can say at this stage."

The Cliffe, in Perth's affluent western suburbs, was home to David McComb, the late frontman of the Australian rock band The Triffids, in his youth.

The 20-room mansion is perched on the Swan River and was classified by the National Trust in 1984.

In a statement issued late this afternoon, Freedom Eye said it concurred fully with Premier Barnett's statement and reject and deny all of the claims made within the complaint.

"The directors of Freedom Eye Ltd are currently receiving advice on what further actions (if any) they may take in regard to this matter and will take whatever action they deem necessary and appropriate to protect the company from any adverse commercial consequences that might result from these unsubstantiated claims."


 

 

The Premier's statement is below:

 

 

On Tuesday 30 June, I was informed in writing by the Corruption and Crime Commissioner, the Honourable Len Roberts-Smith, that the CCC had received a complaint against me.

The complaint alleges that there has been some form of misconduct in relation to my role in seeking the removal of 'The Cliffe' - a property in Peppermint Grove in my electorate of Cottesloe - from the Register of State Heritage Places.

By way of a grievance in the Legislative Assembly on 30 August 2007, I argued the case for the removal of 'The Cliffe' from the Register of State Heritage Places. I did so as the Member for Cottesloe in representing a constituent.

On 14 May 2008, I moved a motion in the Legislative Assembly for the removal of 'The Cliffe' from the Register of State Heritage Places. The Legislative Assembly agreed to that resolution. A similar motion was passed in the Legislative Council on 29 May 2008. Removing a property from the Register of State Heritage Places requires the consent of both Houses of Parliament.

These actions are all on the public record and I stand by them.

The allegation appears to suggest that my motivation to have 'The Cliffe' removed from the Register of State Heritage Places was in some way designed to benefit my son, Russell Barnett, who is Chair of a public company. Mr Mark Creasy, the owner of 'The Cliffe', is a shareholder of that company. I have only become aware of this association since this complaint has been made and knew nothing of it at the time of taking action in relation to 'The Cliffe'.

This allegation is false and I refute it unequivocally. I take particular exception that this allegation involves my son who is not a public figure and played no role whatsoever in my actions with respect to 'The Cliffe'.

I have been informed by the CCC Commissioner that the CCC has forwarded a copy of the complaint to the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly because the Commissioner states that the allegation centres on what has been said in the Parliament and, therefore, the issue of Parliamentary privilege arises.

I make this statement today in the interests of openness and accountability, principles upon which this government was elected and which I stand by wholeheartedly. However, I am restricted in what I can say at this stage.

I expect that, in due course, the full details of the complaint will become public.


STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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