Legislative Council: Tuesday, November 15, 2022


Independent Commission Against Corruption

The Hon. S.G. WADE (15:36): I seek leave to make a brief explanation before asking questions of the Attorney in relation to the Hanlon case.

Leave granted.

The Hon. S.G. WADE: The Attorney has publicly indicated that he has requested a briefing from the Director of Public Prosecutions regarding the circumstances surrounding the withdrawal of charges and the abandonment of proceedings against Mr Hanlon on the first day of the trial in the District Court on Wednesday 9 November. My questions to the Attorney-General are:

1. When did the Attorney make that request?

2. In what form did the Attorney make the request?

3. Did the Attorney-General's request to the Director of Public Prosecutions include a specific request for any particular information?

4. Has the Attorney received any response from the DPP at this time?

The Hon. K.J. MAHER (Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Attorney-General, Minister for Industrial Relations and Public Sector) (15:37): I thank the honourable member for his question. His questions ask exactly what I responded to the Hon. Frank Pangallo earlier in question time, but I'm happy to repeat for the honourable member what I said in relation to the last question. It is a pity for other members that the Hon. Stephen Wade uses the time of this chamber to ask questions which have already been answered, but if that's his wish, I'm happy to answer the questions for him.

As I responded earlier today, the Director of Public Prosecutions discontinued the prosecution of Mr Hanlon in the District Court on 9 November 2022. On the same day, 9 November 2022, as I informed the Hon. Frank Pangallo, after being advised of the discontinuance and, as I said to the Hon. Frank Pangallo—and I will say it again exactly the same—I wrote to both the Director of Public Prosecutions and the Independent Commissioner Against Corruption, seeking a briefing on the investigation and the prosecution of Mr Hanlon.

As I outlined earlier, the fact that this matter has attracted significant media attention and the fact that the bodies have very significant powers creates a need for very significant oversight and very significant confidence in what such bodies do. That's why I wrote to both the DPP and ICAC the same day as the discontinuance of the prosecution on 9 November, last week.

Also, as I outlined before, I think there have been three judgements handed down. The latest, the third judgement, on I think it was Friday afternoon, talks about some of the issues as the judge in the District Court saw about the conduct of the investigation—of witnesses in an overseas jurisdiction raising legitimate issues about that particular investigation.

Whenever you have matters like this, where significant issues are raised—and particularly in a matter like this that has had much attention, and rightly so, in the media—I think it's reasonable that both the ICAC and in this case, as I referred to earlier, the DPP provide a full explanation of what has occurred.