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Premier Daniel Andrews has been attacked for choosing not to attend a Senate inquiry into the cancelled Commonwealth Games, with federal Nationals senator Bridget McKenzie accusing him of a culture of secrecy.
The federal Senate inquiry is under way in Melbourne and has begun to hear from Commonwealth Games Australia. Former state government minister Martin Pakula is also due to appear, as are Ernst & Young consultants, who participated in the original business case.
Nationals senator Bridget McKenzie is part of the federal inquiry.Credit: James Brickwood
McKenzie said Queensland’s Palaszczuk government had allowed officials and members of the 2032 Olympic Organising Committee to attend the same inquiry, which is also probing Australia’s preparations for the major event.
But Andrews declined the invitation to attend the Melbourne hearings, and also told the committee that no current ministers or officials from his government would attend.
“Daniel Andrews has thrown an invisibility cloak over his officials, his ministers, and this whole decision-making process within the Victorian government has been shrouded in secrecy,” McKenzie told ABC Radio National.
“If you’ve got nothing to hide, then why all the secrecy? Part of the privilege and honour and responsibility of being a minister, or being a premier, is to be able to subject yourself to accountability, and my grave concern is the culture of secrecy that exists here in Victoria.
“It is endemic.”
McKenzie said there was a lot to learn, and serious questions needed to be answered about Victoria’s Commonwealth Games cancellation.
“We’re great at hosting international events, not just here in Victoria, but as a nation,” she said.
“It’s one of our great reputations globally, and it’s really been tarnished, and so I think we need to get to the bottom of it.”
Last week The Age revealed Pakula, the former major events minister, had agreed to attend the inquiry and would give evidence.
Pakula retired from parliament at the end of last term and said as a “private citizen now employed by an apolitical organisation” he was inclined to assist the Senate where possible.
He flagged he would only do so while respecting the Victorian government’s independence.
More to come.
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