Next SA anti-corruption commissioner named

By Shannon Jenkins

Tuesday July 28, 2020

parliament house south australia
The government confirmed the breach this week. (Adobe/dudlajzov)

The South Australian government has appointed former Supreme Court Judge Ann Vanstone as the next independent commissioner against corruption.

Bruce Lander will depart from the role on September 1, having served as inaugural commissioner since 2013.

On Monday the appointment was signed off by the state parliament’s Statutory Officers Committee before being finalised by the Executive Council.

Statutory Officers Committee member Terry Stephens absented himself for the decision.

This week Stephens, along with transport minister Stephan Knoll, primary industries minister Tim Whetstone and trade minister David Ridgway resigned from their posts after media attention prompted Lander to announce he was investigating claims for payment of an accommodation allowance made by a number of MPs.

“I intend to make further enquiries in respect of all claims for the Country Members Accommodation Allowance by any Member of Parliament over the last ten years,” Lander said.

Over the past seven years Lander has fronted a number of investigations into SA Public Service agencies, including an 18-month probe into two former senior Renewal SA employees, a senior executive from the Department for Correctional Services, and SA Health, which Lander has described as “riddled with maladministration”.

The commissioner has repeatedly been denied the funding required for him to properly investigate the state health system, despite receiving more than 1000 corruption complaints about SA Health.

Read more: Awaited corruption report blasts SA Health but independent inquiry rejected

Vanstone has four decades of experience in the legal profession across several states, and in 2019 stood down from the SA Supreme Court after serving there for 16 years.

She was appointed a Queen’s Counsel in 1994, and a judge of the District Court in 1999. In 2015, Vanstone chaired the Electoral Districts Boundaries Commission, which ruffled feathers by turning four Labor-held marginals into nominal Liberal seats.

The former judge said it was an honour to be appointed to the commissioner role.

“It is a longstanding interest of mine and I have always been interested in this position and interstate ICAC positions,” she said.

She is the sister-in-law of former federal Liberal minister Amanda Vanstone.

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