The Speaker of the Northern Territory parliament Kezia Purick has resigned following the release of a damning report by the corruption watchdog that made findings against her.
Ms Purick made the announcement as parliament began sitting on Tuesday.
“Honourable members I will be tendering my resignation as Speaker of the Legislative Assembly to the Administrator in light of the findings by the independent ICAC (Independent Commissioner Against Corruption),” she told parliament.
“My decision to resign at this time is to protect the integrity of the office of the Speaker and processes of the legislative assembly.”
The ICAC Commissioner Ken Fleming QC’s report released on Monday accused Ms Purick of “acts of corruption” including intervening in the attempted creation of a political party by other MLAs, lying repeatedly under oath about it and breaching the law and public trust contrary to her obligations of impartiality as Speaker.
“I find that Ms Purick’s conduct in misleading me is corrupt conduct.”
The investigation dates back to late 2018 when her former Country Liberal Party colleagues and now adversaries Terry Mills and Robyn Lambley were trying to set up a new North Australia political party.
Ms Purick attempted, with the help of electorate officer Martine Smith, to block the North Australia Party name from being registered in the NT.
The pair discovered North Australia Party name was registered in Queensland by former Liberal National MP Bruce Young, who they contacted and requested he object to Mr Mills’ and Ms Lambley’s use of the name.
The aim was to try and ruin their plans, the ICAC investigation found.
Ms Purick said in parliament she “did not accept the findings of the report”.
“I believe I have not been afforded natural justice or procedural fairness in relation to the investigation,” she said.
“I completely reject the notion that I have engaged in conduct that amounts to corrupt conduct.
“Under the ICAC Act the commissioner Ken Fleming is not permitted to make a finding that I have committed an offence nor make any finding as to the prospects of success of any future prosecution.
“It is my belief in making findings of corrupt conduct regarding the evidence given to Ken Fleming, he has done so.”
The Director of Public Prosecutions will review the ICAC report.