'No hush money in Buswell case'
The state government's insurer RiskCover has denied claims it paid "hush money" to a woman whose parked car was smashed into by Troy Buswell.PT1M46S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-3c6ix 620 349 July 18, 2014
The state government's insurer RiskCover has denied claims it paid "hush money" to a woman whose parked car was smashed into by Troy Buswell.
The woman whose car was hit told the Seven Network she had been offered a $3000 payout by the state government, on the proviso she gave up all claims against the former treasurer and did not speak to any media outlets.
Insurance Commission of WA chief executive Rob Whithear said it was not uncommon to include a confidentiality clause in a compensation claim.
"We deal with 15,000 workers compensation claims, motor insurance and property insurance claims each year," Mr Whitear said.
"We operate with all of those claims on a confidential basis".
Mr Whithear was unable to specify the number of claims that asked for media confidentiality.
Opposition Leader Mark McGowan said the confidentiality clause was not common practice and alleged it was instead a cover-up to prevent Mr Buswell from having to go before the court.
"This approach was taken in relation to these issues so that [the government] can try to kill what is a significant, embarrassing story of criminal cover-up," Mr McGowan told Radio 6PR.
Earlier this week the opposition released documents obtained under Freedom of Information that showed the initial claim form submitted by Mr Buswell was incomplete.
Mr Whithear said an updated claim form had since been submitted containing Mr Buswell's signature.
There was also an email among the FOI documents noting the Department of Premier and Cabinet's director general Peter Conran had an "interest" in the matter.
Mr Whithear said he recalled having a phone conversation with Mr Conran and that it was not uncommon for them to discuss sensitive claims.
"[Mr Conran] encouraged us to be diligent and thorough in our assessment of any claims as a result of this," Mr Whithear said.
Opposition spokesperson for transport Ken Travers said it was extraordinary that Mr Conran had involved himself in the claim.
"Mr Conran is a wily political operator," Mr Travers said.
"The only explanation that can be put on it is that this has the fingerprints of the premier's office all over it in terms of trying to massage and cover up this issue."
Mr Whithear said the $3000 offered to the woman would not be affected by media reports.
"There's no breach of contract because the offer hasn't been accepted," he said.
"We look forward to a response from the individual."