Mr M. McGOWAN: He [The Premier] was not there, no, but I will get to him.
His most senior, $350 000-plus-a-year staff were at this meeting from which we learn that the program has exceeded its capacity, thereby costing taxpayers many millions of dollars. That became apparent to the Premier‘s staff at that meeting and the Premier is saying that nothing was done. But it gets worse because in the Premier‘s flippancy with his answer, he said that he had been aware of problems with this scheme from the moment he was elected. He then said that he became even more aware from early June when Darren Brown, the former chief of staff to the Minister for Energy, actually said, ―I think this scheme has been exceeded‖ —
Mr C.J. Barnett: Is Darren Brown now your confidant?
Mr M. McGOWAN: I have not spoken to Darren Brown but I can tell the Premier this. Darren Brown gets the sack for bringing these matters to light, but the Minister for Energy loses $400 million and nothing happens to him. What sort of standard is that? His standard is to sack the messenger and protect the failure—sack the messenger and protect the failure. We discovered that the Premier, himself, admitted in what he had to say that he has known for a long time about problems in the scheme. The only reason he acted on 1 August, according to his own admission having known about this issue for some months, is that he got calls from journalists. What we discovered from all the FOIs...Colin, you are a very smart man. I genuinely admire your political experience and nous. You know I have always said it how it is and while employed by your Government, maintained loyalty to those I served. I desperately tried to improve processes and morale from the inside but as you know, I no longer have that ability.
I know things would be easier for you if I just went away quietly, like all the other people who have been put in my situation.
However, it might be better for the Government and ultimately, people of Western Australia, if rather than blaming the messenger, you take onboard some of the observations being made by the few people who are courageous enough to tell you the truth.
I have not spoken to Mr McGowan since I last saw him in the halls of Parliament – when I told him the truth about how appalling I thought his abuse of Parliamentary privilege was. He is no friend of mine and I am certainly not his “confidant”. However, given that I no longer work for you, if I choose to speak to the Leader of the Opposition at some point in the future I will do so and that should be of no concern to you.
I believe the willingness to stand up for principle in the face of threats, intimidation and unjust reputational damage is a very worthwhile virtue and perhaps one you should embrace a little more yourself.