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Expanded immigration probe leads to conflict

Lockwood Smith MP
National Party Immigration Spokesman

29 April 2008

Expanded immigration probe leads to conflict

National Party Immigration spokesman Lockwood Smith says the about-face from Clayton Cosgrove on serious claims levelled at the Immigration Service puts State Services boss Mark Prebble in a conflicted position.

“Dr Prebble said he was not conflicted because he was not looking at claims related to former work-mate Mary-Anne Thompson. But the Immigration Minister’s move to widen the probe today puts Dr Prebble’s conflict back in the spotlight.”

Dr Smith says Dr Prebble must stand aside and let a truly independent probe be conducted. He previously worked closely with Mary-Anne Thompson in the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.

“The damage done to the public perception of the Immigration Service will not be repaired by any inquiry where there is a lingering question over conflicts and loyalties.

“Dr Prebble should do as he did with the inquiry into the politically motivated sacking of Madeleine Setchell, and allow an independent probe.

Dr Smith is also alarmed that the Minister initially tried to dismiss the serious allegations as an ‘operational matter’.

“Had the Minister actually bothered to read the previously secret report into the dealings of his department at that stage? I can’t believe that if he had, he would have dismissed the serious concerns raised in that report so casually.”

Dr Smith revealed today that the previously secret report contains concerning comments about the activities of immigration staff.

“This is very serious stuff. The Minister and the department have been caught out looking very shabby indeed.”


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