BY assistant Prof Bruce Baer Arnold
AS THE scandal builds force surrounding Police Minister Joy Burch’s staff member briefing the CFMEU on the Minister’s discussions with the Chief of Police Andrew Barr has announced he has accepted her resignation from that role.
“Minister Joy Burch has tendered her resignation as Minister for Police and Emergency Services and I have accepted her resignation,” Andrew said.
“Minister Burch will take leave from tomorrow until the new year.
“As I have foreshadowed, there will be a ministerial reshuffle before the Assembly sits in 2016. I will consider the allocation of portfolios over the summer break and announce the revised portfolios in the new year. Deputy Chief Minister Simon Corbell will take on the Police and Emergency Services portfolio until then. Minister Burch retains her other portfolios.
“It is important to be clear that, based on advice I have, there is no suggestion of any wrongdoing by Minister Burch.
“However, following yesterday’s announcement by ACT Policing that they will evaluate the veracity of allegations relating to Minister Burch’s office, she has resigned in accordance with her responsibility under the Ministerial Code of Conduct. Under the Code, Ministers are not only accountable for their own behaviour but also for the decisions and actions of their staff.”
“I remain committed to making a contribution to this government,” Joy said.
“We have an important agenda to deliver and I look forward to continuing to serve the people of Canberra.
“As the police have said, the ACT Government does not direct ACT Policing in relation to how it undertakes its operational activity, and did not do so on the occasion that has been the subject of recent public attention.
“It is nonetheless entirely appropriate that I step aside from this portfolio while ACT Policing conducts its evaluation.
“It is not appropriate to make further comment on the police evaluation.”
UPDATE: The Liberals’ Jeremy Hanson is smelling the blood in the water, making this statement:
Simply accepting Joy Burch’s resignation as Police Minister is a weak and inadequate response from Andrew Barr. If Ms Burch is unfit to be the Police Minister then she is unfit to be the Education Minister, the Gaming Minister, or hold any other position in Cabinet, Leader of the Opposition Jeremy Hanson said today.
“The Chief Minister has failed in his responsibility to the people of the ACT by not removing Joy Burch from Cabinet,” Mr Hanson said.
“Mr Barr must also fully explain the other matters beyond the inappropriate briefing of the CFMEU that he claims led to her resignation.”
“Andrew Barr’s failure to stand up to Labor’s factions and the CFMEU further erodes the integrity of his government and is to the detriment of our community.
“I once again call on Andrew Barr to sack Joy Burch and cut financial and political ties with the CFMEU,” Mr Hanson concluded.