N.P. Chief Minister under pressure to grant ICAC access

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N.P. Chief Minister under pressure to grant ICAC access

The Northern Territory Chief Minister is under pressure to allow the anti-corruption watchdog to access secret cabinet documents that have been the subject of a serious allegation In a report that was put in place last month by the Independent Commissioner Against Corruption, Michael Riches, said he initiated an investigation after he received a claim that a cabinet submission had been edited by a public officer so as to be misleading to the true state of affairs, because current legislation prevents the ICAC from accessing cabinet related material.

Mr Gunner declined the request, which Mr Riches said was his legal right, but he added that doing so prevented further investigation.

The Opposition has been calling for Ms Fyles, who took over from Mr Gunner in May, to hand over the material, as she later agreed to grant the ICAC access to other cabinet-related documents that were the subject of a different allegation.

Ms Fyles deflected repeated questions on Tuesday about whether she would overturn Mr Gunner's earlier rejection of the ICAC request during an interview on ABC Radio Darwin.

She said it was her understanding that the ICAC's requests to Mr Gunner related to the same issue, but she said she did not know the specifics of the allegation.

She said that this was at arm's length, which is why I sound vague on it, because we allowed the cabinet office to talk to the ICAC so he could ascertain within cabinet privilege what he needed, but at the same time respecting that process of cabinet privilege.

The Chief Minister was trying to avoid scrutiny, according to the Opposition Leader Lia Finocchiaro.

Any leader with integrity would make sure the ICAC Commissioner has the information he needs, she said.

Natasha Fyles can't answer simple questions about the provision of that information shows that she's completely hands-off and running from scrutiny. Following questions from the ABC, Riches confirmed his requests to Mr Gunner and Ms Fyles for cabinet-related material related to two entirely separate matters. He said he would be pleased if the government would contact him about it.

I have a request from the government. It made a decision, Riches said.

If the government wishes to reconsider its position, I would be pleased to hear from them.

I will not make the request a second time. Mr Riches also revealed new details about the matter he raised with Ms Fyles.

The documents appeared to be cabinet documents.

Because the documents were likely cabinet documents, I did not read them, other than the title of each document and they were stored in a safe. He said he wrote to Ms Fyles, who did not press a claim of privilege, which allowed him to view the documents under the ICAC Act.

He declined to say whether he is investigating the matter further.

Ms Fyles said the government is currently reviewing the ICAC Act, which will examine whether changes are needed in relation to cabinet privilege.