11/05/2022 - 15:01

State billed $16k for lawsuit: McGurk

11/05/2022 - 15:01

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Minister Simone McGurk has remained tight-lipped about the settlement that ended her lawsuit with psychologist Tracy Westerman, revealing only that the state paid $16,500 in costs.

State billed $16k for lawsuit: McGurk
Ms McGurk told parliament this afternoon she accepted the matter was of public interest and divulged a portion of the sum paid.

Communities Minister Simone McGurk has remained tight-lipped about the settlement that ended her legal battle with psychologist Tracy Westerman, revealing only that the state paid $16,500 in costs.

Last week, the minister issued a public apology to Ms Westerman via the state government’s communications channels over comments she made during a press conference in January.

In March, Business News revealed Dr Westerman had launched a Supreme Court action over the comments, which centred around cultural audit reports conducted on the department in 2019 and 2021, claiming they were defamatory.

In response, she sought aggravated damages and an injunction restraining Ms McGurk from republishing the defamatory matter.

While both parties had agreed to keep the settlement confidential, Ms McGurk told parliament this afternoon she accepted the matter was of public interest and divulged a portion of the sum paid.

“I take this opportunity to inform the house that, as part of the settlement, a total of $16,500 has been paid, being a contribution towards the legal costs and disbursements incurred by Dr Westerman and Indigenous Psychological Services,” she told parliament.

“This payment was made without any admission of liability and no other payments were made to Dr Westerman or Indigenous Psychological Services.”

With the terms of the settlement confidential, Ms McGurk said she did not intend to make any further comment in relation to the matter.

The total cost of the matter is not yet known.

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