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Clark and Maharey Will Rue Public Vilification

Clark and Maharey Will Rue Public Vilification of Rankin

Wednesday 18th Apr 2001 Dr Muriel Newman Media Release -- Social Welfare

Ill-judged private comments made to Christine Rankin are likely to form an important part of her employment case, ACT Welfare Spokesman Dr Muriel Newman said today. “We know members of this Government made injudicious public comments about Ms Rankin and her suitability for the job both before and after the last election.

But I understand Ms Rankin has evidence of damaging personal comments made to her as well – which would be very embarrassing to this Government if revealed in open court. “Helen Clark and Steve Maharey are now trying to hide behind the skirts of collective Cabinet responsibility, but they should not be allowed to. The taxpayer has been exposed to the risk of an $818,000 payout, the origins of which were even before the last election through comments about Ms Rankin, such as:

‘I could entertain you till the cows come home with some of the stories about the training camps she has at the resorts for the staff, like the one where I’m told they were all blind folded, and told to act like sheep.’ Helen Clark to tens of thousands of television viewers just before the 1999 election.

And: ‘When we get money from hard-working taxpayers we don’t expect to see it paying for the sorts of rackets Rankin has been up to…’ Helen Clark, prior to the 1999 election.

“And: ‘Christine Rankin should go…[she] has damaged the credibility of the entire public service.’ Steve Maharey, also in election year.

“The nonsense continued after the election as Mr Maharey refused to express confidence in Ms Rankin: 'We’ve made that clear. . . we don’t have confidence.' Steve Maharey, December 20, 1999.

“The lawyers for Ms Rankin have stated their confidence that they have the witnesses and documents to show political interference in her non re-appointment. The evidence produced in the process of discovery has Mr Maharey and Ms Clark rightly fearful and they will use every means they can, to hide the facts behind a secret out of court settlement.

“Hiding the embarrassing statements that will lead to the settlement, and which will sheet home their personal responsibility for much of the huge payout will be their prime goal.

“This must not happen. There must be full public disclosure of all the facts. There must be no secret payout. I would expect The Prime Minister to heed her own words of February 8, 2000: ‘This Government wants to abandon the culture of golden handshakes negotiated in secrecy and to abandon the culture of paying people for doing nothing.’ Time to put those words into action,” Dr Newman said.

ENDS


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