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Acting A-G to be sworn in as Chapman stays in cabinet

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Cabinet newcomer Josh Teague will be sworn in as the Planning and Local Government Minister today, but will only be acting in the role of Attorney-General, with Vickie Chapman waiting in the wings – and remaining in cabinet.

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The Government has clarified the complex arrangements behind Chapman’s move yesterday to “stand down” as Deputy Premier – with the role to be filled at a party-room ballot in comings days – while only “standing aside” from the ministry, pending an Ombudsman’s inquiry into allegations of conflict of interest and breaching the ministerial code.

A Government spokesperson said: “Ms Chapman will not be retaining any ministerial entitlements during this period. That includes staff, salary, driver and office resources.”

However, they subsequently confirmed she would still be paid a ministerial salary for the Attorney-General’s role, from which she is effectively on leave, and which Teague – a first-term MP and former Speaker – will be performing in an ‘acting’ capacity.

Premier Steven Marshall’s office confirmed Chapman would “still be a member of cabinet” but would not attend meetings while Ombudsman Wayne Lines conducts his investigation.

However, they said, Teague will be officially sworn in as Minister for Local Government and Planning – the portfolio in which Chapman vetoed a $40 million timber port on her native Kangaroo Island, sparking this week’s events.

The Premier’s office confirmed Chapman had resigned from those two ministries.

They said she did not intend to retain her ministerial salary for the Attorney-General’s portfolio, but was “working through ways” of relinquishing it, with the Government seeking advice on whether it has to be paid by law, whether it can be simply returned to Treasury or donated to charities, following the example – ridiculed by Government figures at the time – of ex-Liberal Speaker Dan Cregan.

But the Government was adamant Chapman would not pocket more than a basic backbench salary (a little over $200,000 a year including allowances) pending the Ombudsman’s inquiry.

 

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