Malu Sara Tragedy: Immigration Official Resigns

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24th February 2009, 08:06pm - Views: 1020

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013.09                                                                                                     24 February 2009

Malu Sara tragedy: immigration official resigns

The Immigration staff member at the centre of the Queensland State

Coroner’s inquest into the loss of the Malu Sara resigned from the Department

of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) yesterday.

As a result, DIAC’s code of conduct investigation immediately ceased from the

date of that resignation.

The department appointed former Commonwealth Ombudsman and Special

Counsel at DLA Phillips Fox, Professor Dennis Pearce, on February 13 to

investigate possible breaches of the Australian Public Service code of conduct

by Garry Chaston following the findings of the coroner into the loss of five

lives onboard the immigration vessel, the Malu Sara.

DIAC Secretary Andrew Metcalfe said Mr Chaston had been suspended

without pay but yesterday he resigned from the department, effective


“As a result of Mr Chaston’s resignation, the code of conduct investigation

immediately ceases from the date of effect of that resignation,” Mr Metcalfe


“An investigation into whether or not a departmental employee has breached

the APS code of conduct continues to finalisation only while the person being

investigated remains an employee of the public service.

“It is worth noting that if a code of conduct investigation ends in such

circumstances, and that employee is successful in securing employment with

another APS agency at any point in future, the investigation would normally be

expected to continue.”

The decision of an APS officer to resign in such circumstances has no effect

on action other agencies or individuals may wish to take.

“The department continues to offer its deepest sympathy to all those affected

by the tragic loss of life from the Malu Sara,” Mr Metcalfe said.

Media enquiries: DIAC National Communications (02) 6264 2244


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