The State Opposition accused the Barnett Government of double standards yesterday after the Premier's office released details of payouts of more than $500,000 to seven former ALP staffers.
Shadow treasurer Ben Wyatt said it was hypocritical to release information about the payouts, which resulted from Mark McGowan's takeover of the Labor leadership, when the Opposition's requests for details of the payout made to former media adviser James Larsson had been denied.
Mr Wyatt was speaking when he moved a motion accusing the Government of making "corrupt" and "excessive" payouts to Mr Larsson, who was forced to resign after sending reporters an image of Mr McGowan's house. The motion was lost.
Mr Wyatt said he had no choice but to submit an Freedom of Information application to try to uncover Mr Larsson's payout after the Government maintained it had a "longstanding practice" of not releasing personal financial details.
But Mr Wyatt said if this was the policy, he could not understand why the Government had previously given him payout figures for more than two dozen former employees, while the Premier's media office released a breakdown of individual payments made to the former ALP staffers yesterday in response to a media inquiry.
Mr Wyatt maintained the $54,000 payout to Mr Larsson was five times what he was entitled to.
In the absence of Premier Colin Barnett, who was at the Australia in China's Century conference, Treasurer Troy Buswell denied the Opposition's allegation that the payout constituted "hush money".Reading a letter from Department of Premier and Cabinet director-general Peter Conran to public accounts committee chairman John Kobelke, Mr Buswell said it had been agreed Mr Larsson "would be paid accrued and pro rata annual and long service leave and four months salary including waiver of working through a notice of resignation period" valued at $46,847, as well as $6902 for airfare and removal costs.
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