Department of Health - procedures relating to a defamation case and its settlement

The ICAC was requested by resolution of both Houses of the NSW Parliament to investigate whether procedures relating to a defamation case brought by a member of the NSW Parliament and its settlement were acceptable having regard, amongst other things, to practices and procedures in the public sector and whether any improper influence was exercised by any person or persons in this process.

In 1988 the then Deputy Leader of the Opposition sued an individual and two newspaper companies for defamation. The plaintiff lost the case and was ordered to pay costs. The Department of Health paid the defendant's costs.

The plaintiff appealed and the appeal was settled on terms that abandoned the order for costs. The Department of Health approved the settlement. The investigation by the ICAC sought to identify reasons, opportunities, ways or means whereby pressure or influence might have been brought to bear and, if so, by whom.

In its report on this investigation, made public in January 1994, the ICAC made findings that  that there had been no improper influence exercised by any person, and that the correct procedures had been followed by the Department of Health.

This report is no longer available online. Request the report.