Commonwealth Ombudsman Allan Asher has resigned following Federal Government concerns over his impartiality.
Mr Asher has been under pressure since he admitted he scripted questions for a Greens senator at a budget estimates committee hearing in May.
Rachel Riley reports.
The independence and integrity of the Commonwealth Ombudsman came into question after he collaborated with the Greens about inadequate funding and his increased workload, in dealing with complaints from the immigration detention network.
Julia Gillard, Prime Minister: “I’ve indicated publicly that I have been concerned about the conduct of the Ombudsman. I think it remains for the Ombudsman to explain how this conduct meets his obligations of independence and impartiality.”
Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young put questions scripted by the Ombudsman, to a Senate budget estimates committee hearing in May.
Mr Asher says he accept his actions were not impartial.
He also recognises that the Ombudsman must retain community confidence.
Greens leader Bob Brown says the Ombudsman’s departure is a political assassination and says Mr Asher has been punished for speaking out about detention centre conditions.
The opposition blames the Government for Mr Asher’s resignation.
Tony Abbott, Federal Opposition Leader: “It says something about the disfunction at the heart of this government that senior stautory officer finds it necessary to get questions asked of himself in estimates rather than simply being able to approach the Government in the normal way.
Mr Asher’s resignation will take effect on October 28 but he will go on leave as of Monday.
Rachel Riley QUT News.