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Breach of privilege complaint laid against Maharey

Hon Nick Smith
Opposition Education Spokesperson

17 February 2000

Golden handshakes backfire on Govt
Breach of privilege complaint laid against Maharey

Opposition Education Spokesperson Nick Smith today lodged a breach of privilege complaint against Tertiary Education Minister Steve Maharey for deliberately misleading the House.

The complaint follows Mr Maharey's repeated denials in Parliament that he knew of the Victoria University Vice Chancellor's resignation.

"On 8 February, 16 February and 17 February Mr Maharey denied having any discussions with the Chancellor of Victoria University regarding the resignation of the Vice Chancellor.

"However in a letter today released by the State Services Commission the Chancellor stated that discussions had taken place last year and prior to the resignation being made public.

"Labour has got into a pickle by beating up golden handshakes while in Opposition, and now one occurs in Government, ducking for cover.

"The problem started in January when Mr Maharey denied knowledge of the resignation of the Vice-Chancellor and he has since been digging himself deeper and deeper into a hole.

"He first said he met the Chancellor of Victoria University on one date, the next day he says it was a completely different date, and now he denies the date of another even earlier discussion completely - even though there's a letter proving it.

"Who is right? Queen's Counsel and former Victoria University Vice Chancellor Douglas White in his formal letter sent in his official capacity as Chancellor to the State Services Commissioner or Steve Maharey?"


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