nsw council for civil liberties says icac is being “too precious and too delicate” in relation to carr comments

Thursday, 19 August 2004 NSWCCL media release: 7/2004


President of NSW Council for Civil Liberties, Mr Cameron Murphy, today criticised the ICAC for being “too precious and too delicate” in relation to comments by NSW Premier Bob Carr today on proceedings before it. 

Mr Murphy also said he had concerns that the ICAC could be perceived to be “restricting freedom of speech” with its actions today (August 19) in Sydney. 
He rejected claims that the Premier should be brought to order for contempt.

Mr Murphy said: -- 

"The claim today by the ICAC is bordering on the ridiculous." 

"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." 

"On August 16 at 7.30am, the Leader of the Opposition made comments on 2GB about the current inquiry and it did not prompt a response from the ICAC." 

"Is the ICAC proposing that no one in our open and free society can talk about any matter before it?" 

"I remind the ICAC that the hearing is before a commissioner and not a jury." 

"Nobody seriously believes 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."

For further information contact: 

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