Human Services Minister Jacquie Petrusma has “categorically rejected” allegations a staff member told the Children’s Commissioner not to communicate sensitive advice in writing, Parliament heard on Tuesday.
In Question Time, Opposition Leader Rebecca White brought up allegations from budget estimates that a member of Ms Petrusma’s staff had asked the Commissioner for Children and Young People Mark Morrissey not to deliver sensitive information to the department in writing.
In a Legislative Council budget estimates hearing last week, Ms Petrusma was questioned over whether any members of her staff had been given a “directive to a statutory office that would be seen to obstruct or hinder their obligations”.
Opposition children’s spokesman Josh Willie told the committee the concern had been taken to the Integrity Commission.
But Ms Petrusma said herself and Mr Morrissey had communicated several times in meetings, on the phone, and through email.
She said many times in Parliament on Tuesday and in last week’s hearing that she denied the allegations and labelled them an “attack” on a staff member.
“These are just nasty allegations and questions,” Ms Petrusma told Parliament.
“This is now on the public record, concerning a hardworking public servant who, for 20 years, has faithfully served both the previous government and this government as well.”
Mr Morrissey said that as the matter had been referred to the Integrity Commission, it would be inappropriate to comment.
Greens leader Cassy O’Connor said she was not entirely persuaded by the Opposition’s comments in Parliament or by Ms Petrusma’s denials.