Lockwood Smith MP
National Party Immigration Spokesman
13 June 2008
Immigration Service shambles shameful
National Party Immigration spokesman Lockwood Smith is asking how successive Immigration Ministers could not have known about the shambles unfolding within the department.
"When there is one case of improper staff behaviour almost every fortnight, there is a significant problem. How come this is now such a concern for the Minister when he's staked his career on the argument that illegal decision-making within the department is none of his business?"
Dr Smith is referring to figures released by Clayton Cosgrove showing that 26 incidents, including theft, conflict of interest and misconduct, had been recorded within the Immigration Service since January 2007.
"Mr Cosgrove should explain how he's been able to provide such a lot of information about staff dishonesty, when the excuse for not knowing about the illegal decision-making within the Pacific division is that it's not his responsibility?
"Mr Cosgrove has changed his view. How much did the Minister and his predecessor know about alleged misconduct within the Pacific division?"
Dr Smith says that in parliamentary question time the Minister has denied corruption within the service, and attempted to downplay the seriousness of alleged offending within this core branch of the Government.
"While there are now a number of investigations under way, nothing can hide the fact that it took sustained pressure to get these sorts of issues put in the public arena.
"What else has been kept quiet?"