the West Australian

  • November 27, 1997, p. 10

    Rindos leaks tied to MP's office

  • By Michael Day

    (topped by picture of Mrs. Scott)

    LEAKS of a confidential draft of a WA parliamentary committee report on the Rindos affair at the University of WA originated with committee member Barbara Scott MLC, according to a privilege committee report.

    The Legislative Council privilege committee did not pursue the unauthorised disclosures.

    it said it did not take the matter of those disclosures any further because they were not part of its terms of reference.

    The privilege committee was formed to investigate the circumstances surrounding the disclosure of certain pages of the public administration committee's draft report to UWA Professor Charles Oxnard.

    The privilege committee found there, was a breach of privilege but was unable to identify who leaked the report to Professor Oxnard.

    In April 1996, the public administration committees began an inquiry into the 1993 denial of tenure to UWA archaeology lecturer David Rindos, who died on December 9 last year.

    During its investigations, the privilege committee heard evidence which it said established that a series of unauthorised disclosures of the draft report occurred, originating with instructions given by Mrs. Scott to her research officer.

    The committee said the evidence established that Mrs. Scott's instructions included making a copy of the draft report and providing it to UWA Professor Neville Bruce for his comment.

    Both Professor Bruce and departmental colleague Professor Oxnard were strong critics of the UWA administration in the Rindos affair.

    The privilege committee said evidence established that Professor Oxnard had received pages of the draft report in a UWA internal mail envelope on Friday, August 8 this year, and on the following Monday contacted public administration committee clerk Jason Agar, who told committee chairman Kim Chance.

    Mr. Chance told Mr. Agar to phone Professor Oxnard to pass on that he agreed with his views that pages needed to be changed and not to tell anyone he had an extract of the draft report.

    The committee completed yesterday the first term of reference of the inquiry.

    The report will be made public next Tuesday.

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