Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The nuclear option on Solid Energy

Last night, Campbell Live finally got Solid Energy to front up, with a detailed interview with its strategy mnager Bill Luff. The problem? Mr Luff appears to have answered questions that just last week he was telling Parliament he couldn't answer. As a result, Clayton Cosgrove has gone nuclear and has laid a complaint of contempt of Parliament with the Speaker:

Clayton Cosgrove said: “I was astounded to see Solid Energy’s strategy and corporate affairs manager Bill Luff singing like a canary to media yesterday and today. Mr Luff’s openness and transparency was in stark contrast to his appearance, along with his colleagues, at the select committee last Thursday.

“The executive team repeatedly stated that they couldn’t answer questions because the events happened before their time, they didn’t know and they didn’t have the information.

“Yet just 48 hours before former chair John Palmer and former chief executive Dr Don Elder are due to appear before the committee, Mr Luff provided detailed information to the media. Where were those answers last Thursday?

This is a serious allegation, and it deserves a serious investigation. SOEs have an obligation to be honest with Parliament - it represents their shareholders after all - and Luff appears to have violated that obligation. And while those sorts of spin tactics - stonewalling and obfuscation until you feel like talking - may be acceptable in the minds of big-business sociopaths, they're not acceptable in our Parliament.