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SA's corruption trial « Previous | |Next »
June 7, 2005

NewsAdelaide.jpg South Australia's first political corruption trial has begun in the District Court in Adelaide. Randall Ashbourne, the former senior adviser to South Australian Premier Mike Rann, is charged with misusing his position as advisor to secure or facilitate a benefit for Mr Clarke. Ashbourne has pleaded not guilty to using his power or influence in such a manner.

It is alleged Ashbourne negotiated with the former Labor MP, Ralph Clark, in late 2002 to drop legal action against Attorney-General Michael Atkinson. He did so by allegedly offering Mr Clark a position on a number of government boards.

Ashbourne, a former political reporter for Channel 7, was the one who struck the deal with Independent MP Peter Lewis that gave Mike Rann the numbers to form government after the 2002 state election resulted in a hung parliament.

Srikes me that Ashbourne is the fall guy for the problem faced by spin-obsessed Rann Government that was living on a political knife edge and anxious to avoid any bad media.

Update: 10 June
Did Ashbourne broker a deal to have a defamation suit dropped by an MP in return for a board position?

Michael Atkinson, the Attorney General, says he was never told of such a deal Mr Atkinson's political adviser, George Karzis, says that the Attorney General was informed of the deal at a meeting in September or October last year.

Update: June 30th

The state's first political corruption trial fizzed---Ashbourne was found not guilty of abuse of public office---and the Rann Government has been cornered into having an inquiry into the Ashbourne-Atkinson affair. Before the trial Premier Mike Rann promised an independent inquiry but that promise was quickly scrapped as non-core.

The Rann Government is now fighting ruthlessly to avoid having that inquiry in public.It wants a Star Chamber because the Government has been found to be heavying the DDP's office yet again.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 7:01 PM | | Comments (0)