Anti-Discrimination Board president Chris Puplick acted in a manner that was unreasonable and unjust in his handling of a case brought before the ADB by a friend, state ombudsman Bruce Barbour has found.
The ombudsman’s annual report, tabled in state parliament last week, includes details of Barbour’s investigation of the matter.
Our investigation found that Mr Puplick had a poor grasp of the concept of conflict of interests and had repeatedly failed to recognise or manage both actual and perceived conflicts arising from his various professional roles and friendships. He had also ignored the requirements of various codes of conduct, the report states.
The ombudsman referred the matters to the Independent Commission Against Corruption and the director of public prosecutions because of a concern that some media reports on the matter contained information which may be at odds with information provided by Mr Puplick in sworn evidence and written submissions.
The annual report also includes details of other recommendations made to the attorney-general by the ombudsman following his report into the Puplick affair. These recommendations (accepted by the government) include reviewing the co-location arrangements of the ADB and the Privacy Commission and introducing a policy to ensure that the offices of privacy commissioner and Anti-Discrimination Board were not held by the same person at the same time.
Another recommendation urged the attorney-general to consult with the minister for Health about the need to investigate Mr Puplick’s conduct as CSAHS [Central Sydney Area Health Service] chairman.
Puplick resigned as CSAHS chairman at the end of June and will step down from his last public post, as chairman of the Board of Governors of the AIDS Trust of Australia, at the AIDS Trust’s annual general meeting this Saturday.