A media release by the Independent member for Nelson, Tasmania, reveals the O’Farrell Review into the illegal prison surveillance of Jeff Thompson would possibly be illegal itself. The following is a media release issued yesterday by Nelson Independent, Meg Webb, MLC.
Independent Member for Nelson Meg Webb said the Rockliff Liberal Government today did an embarrassing backflip on the O’Farrell Review into Tasmania Police Surveillance.
“On October 6, I wrote to Premier Rockliff asking that he confirm the O’Farrell Review into illegal Tasmania Police surveillance could be lawfully conducted,” Ms Webb said.
“Today we have seen some embarrassing backside covering from the Government, with the admission that the review could not be undertaken lawfully and will require legislative change to occur and a longer timeframe for delivery.”
Ms Webb said the O’Farrell Review remain inappropriate due to the perception of a conflict of interest for the former Solicitor General at the time the illegal surveillance took place.
“Today we learn the Review was on track to possibly be unlawful itself. Who was responsible for getting the legal advice on this?
“This review should always have been entirely independent of Tasmania Police and had a much more comprehensive scope for investigation.”
Mr Webb said the Tasmanian people already had every reason to lack confidence in the validity of the O’Farrell Review as a genuine investigation of illegal police surveillance.
“Today our level of confidence just sank even further.”
Ms Webb said her letter to the Premier included a range of questions, including:
Are you aware of the current suppression/non-publication orders in place in the Jeff Thompson matter, and that much of the hearing in the Thompson matter which will be relevant to the O’Farrell review occurred in a closed court?
How will the O’Farrell review access, use, communicate and publish the critical information concerning the application for the warrant, the supporting affidavit and relevant communications relating to the application for the warrant in the Jeff Thompson matter?
Can you guarantee that the activities of Mr O’Farrell in conducting the proposed review are entirely lawful?