A state government minister has been accused of preferencing political donors for border entry during the Covid pandemic.
WA’s leading corruption body has received allegations the state government gave preferential treatment to political donors during the Covid pandemic.
The claims emerged this week during an unfair dismissal hearing by the Public Service Appeal Board.
Former electorate officer for Deputy Premier Roger Cook, Sanja Spasojevic claimed she was instructed by the then Health Minister to fast track entry applications for members of the Labor Business Roundtable.
Roundtable members pay thousands of dollars for access to senior members of the government including Premier Mark McGowan.
Deputy Premier of WA Roger Cook has been accused by a former employee of preferencing political donors for entry to the state during the pandemic. NCA NewsWire / Tony McDonough
“Further to the allegations being made in court under oath by a former staff member of the Labor government I have written to the crime and corruption commissioner, John McKechnie, QC today,” WA opposition leader Mia Davies said on Friday.
“If found to be true, it would be a gross misuse of power and raises questions about the influence of donors and ministers in the McGowan Government.”
WA imposed Australia’s strictest border lockdown during the pandemic requiring a G2G pass to enter the state.
The G2G system was an initiative of the WA police and was operated entirely by them, according to a spokesperson for Mr Cook.
“Decisions on G2G applications during the COVID-19 pandemic were made independently by the WA Police,” the spokesperson said.
“It is truly appalling for the Opposition to question the integrity of WA Police.”
Many families were kept apart due to WA’s strict border entry rules. NCA NewsWire /Tony McDonough
Ms Spasojevic – who is accusing Mr Cook’s office of unfair dismissal – claimed she worked with a staff member in Police Minister Michelle Roberts’ office to request certain applications be fast-tracked between April and June 2020.
WA Police said in a statement it was not aware of the allegations other than what had been reported in the media and had not received a complaint in relation to the matter.
“All G2G applications made during the COVID-19 pandemic were assessed and dealt with by WA Police Force in accordance with the Emergency Management Act directions in force at the time,” the statement said.
Ms Davies said the allegations were serious and warranted further investigation.
“If they are found to be true, it would be a huge betrayal of trust for the many families who were separated and denied entry into Western Australia under the McGowan Labor government’s G2G system,” she said.