Following media reports of the resignation of Kieran Ash, a former Department Liaison Officer who was under active investigation for a possible breach of his employment obligations while working in Minister Haylen’s office, the NSW Opposition contends this matter is yet to be concluded.
Documents provided to Parliament last week show Mr Ash drafted and (from his ministerial office email) sent speeches to Ms Haylen’s personal email that contained pro-Labor political language that was critical of the previous Liberal Government and worked alongside the Premier’s office to design and distribute Labor Party political brochures.
Mr Ash as a public servant was forbidden from doing pro-Labor Party political activity while in Ms Haylen’s office.
When asked repeatedly about her knowledge and participation in the staffer-rorts scandal, Ms Haylen stated under oath:
“I understand that, but the work that I engaged with this relatively junior public servant on was policy based and was in line with his responsibilities as a public servant advising government on the areas that he was working on.”
These documents show this was untrue, with the curious timing of Mr Ash’s resignation only 24 hours after the Opposition raised this matter in Parliament raises further questions.
Shadow Minister for Transport Natalie Ward commented:
“How many more people will be thrown under the bus to protect Minister Haylen.”
“The Minister first lost her chief of staff and now Mr Ash has resigned before the investigation could conclude – all key parts of this Government’s cover up.”
“The Parliamentary inquiry into this affair still needs to take place and it is the intention of the Opposition to call Minister Haylen, Mr Ash and Mr Gartrell among other witnesses.”
“I would expect the Government to support Mr Gartrell and Mr Ash as witnesses, considering they both have resigned under curious circumstances and are no longer public servants.”