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SA Attorney-General faces inquiry for conflict of interest claims

South Australian Attorney-General and Deputy Premier Vickie Chapman has faced an inquiry into her rejection of a Kangaroo Island development application over claims that she had a conflict of interest and misled parliament in her decision.

user iconNaomi Neilson 08 November 2021 Big Law
Vickie Chapman
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The inquiry began its probe into Ms Chapman’s rejection of a Kangaroo Island port after she inherited the planning portfolio from front-bencher Stephan Knoll. It comes after claims that the Attorney-General had a vested interest in the application for constructing a port, given that she owns property on Kangaroo Island.

Fronting the inquiry on Thursday, 4 November, Ms Chapman dismissed Labor’s claims as a “mudslinging exercise” and was reported to have told the inquiry that she was not aware a forest across the road from her property had contracted KIPT to fell its logs. She added that she did “not consider that I have any conflict of interest”.

 
 

Accusing Labor of using Kangaroo Island as a “political football” ahead of the state elections, Ms Chapman targeted primarily Tom Koutsantonis and Andrea Michaels: “Throughout the witch-hunt, I have been viciously and personally attacked and, unfortunately, given the current Labor members, I suspect this will continue.”

Mr Koutsantonis has called for Ms Chapman to resign, adding that her answers to the inquiry were “unsatisfactory”. Prior to the inquiry starting, he told media that the opposition was in “receipt of evidence” that he believed confirmed their suspicion that “the Deputy Premier has indeed acted inappropriately” with the application.

Labor leader Peter Malinauskas mirrored Mr Koutsantonis’ calls for her resignation, telling the inquiry that she “has no choice but to resign” and if she does not, that Premier Steven Marshall “needs to step up and show some leadership”.

Ms Chapman told the inquiry that these accusations were a “revolting” personal attack for political gain: “While the Marshall Liberal Government is committed to rebuilding the island after the devastating bushfires and COVID-19 pandemic, the Labor Party has launched this unprecedented kangaroo court.”