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Prebble will have to delegate immigration probe

Lockwood Smith MP
National Party Immigration Spokesman

22 April 2008

Prebble will have to delegate immigration probe

National Party Immigration spokesman Lockwood Smith says State Services Commissioner Mark Prebble will have to explain why he should conduct a new inquiry into claims swirling around a senior Immigration Service official.

"I still don't understand why the first independent inquiry into these matters is being kept secret. How many inquiries does it take to get to the truth of serious allegations against a department official? What is Immigration trying to hide?

"Is this a case of two reports are better than one? Or is it a case that there's something in the first report that no one is supposed to see?

"I am curious as to why the privacy of individuals is being used as an excuse not to release that secret report. If there was a real will to release it, I am sure there would be ways around that."

Dr Smith says Dr Prebble previously worked closely with Mary-Anne Thompson in the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.

"Dr Prebble stood aside from the inquiry into the politically motivated sacking of Madeleine Setchell because of a conflict. Unless he does the same with this new immigration inquiry, the public will be suspicious about its findings.

"He will have to delegate responsibility if this second inquiry is to be seen as truly independent."

Dr Smith says Dr Prebble should also release the terms of reference for the inquiry into claims of an irregular visa process for members of Mary-Anne Thompson's family.

ENDS

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