icac – contempt decision and premier bob carr – a victory for commonsense

Wednesday, 22 September 2004 NSWCCL media release: 10/2004


President of NSW Council for Civil Liberties, Mr Cameron Murphy, today welcomed the decision by the ICAC to drop contempt proceedings against Premier Bob Carr, saying it was a “victory for commonsense and freedom of speech”. 
Mr Murphy said --:

"This is a commonsense decision – and is a victory for free speech." 

"I am on the record, saying the ICAC was ‘too precious and too delicate’ – and I still hold that firm view." 

"I never suggested US- style open commentary like Fox News on the Amber Frey case or the Kobe Bryant matter, but we should be able make minor observations about the ICAC as it is not an actual court." 

"The ICAC has a commissioner and not a jury." 

"The ICAC has been hearing matters without fear or favour since 1989. This is first time in 15 years it has felt the need to threaten contempt proceedings in relation to comments in the public arena." 

"Everyday talk back radio commentators give their opinions about inquiries and activity in the community." 

"Nobody seriously believed that the ICAC would be influenced by the Premier, the Prime Minister or anyone in the community for that matter." 

"The ICAC should not regard itself as a delicate organisation. This is an important issue of freedom of speech." 

"If the ICAC feels so strongly about comments on its activities, it should consider suppressing all of its evidence. For the record, I do not support suppressing the proceedings in any way and believe that we should be able to comment on ICAC activity." 

"Openness and public accountability are central to the ICAC’s objectives, yet they are criticising the premier for just that." 

"What the ICAC needs to do is to get on with its job and complete the inquiry, rather than losing its focus in petty side issues." 

"The tragedy is that the important story of the nurses has been lost in the face of this contempt issue."

For further information contact: 

Cameron Murphy -- NSWCCL, President on 0411-769-769