Overland to take top public service post

The Tasmanian government has backed the controversial former Victorian police commissioner Simon Overland as its Justice Department secretary, following an adverse Ombudsman’s report.

Tasmanian Attorney-General Brian Wightman said he had confidence in the work Mr Overland was doing, and hit back at a sustained state Liberal opposition campaign against the appointment.

Victoria’s Acting Ombudsman, John Taylor, yesterday released a report clearing Mr Overland of improper conduct.

However Mr Taylor found a series of faults, including the provision of an unnecessary $72,000 termination payout to a senior executive.

Tasmania’s Opposition today continued its pursuit of the Labor-Green government over the July appointment of Mr Overland to the Hobart public service post.

Frontbencher Matthew Groom said the latest Ombudsman’s report came on top of a series of other Victorian official investigations into Mr Overland’s conduct.

But Mr Wightman said the Shadow Attorney-General, Vanessa Goodwin, had failed to raise any concerns With Mr Overland when at his instigation she met him recently.

‘‘Did she say, as when he was appointed, that she would sack him if they ever came to office? No she did not,’’  Mr Wightman told the parliament.

‘‘It’s very clear that the Ombudsman has cleared Simon Overland of any improper conduct.

‘‘And we will judge Mr Overland on the work that he does as the secretary of the Justice Department in Tasmania.  I have confidence in the work that he’s doing, and I Iook forward to continuing my work with him.’’

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