'I have considered the written and oral submissions to the Commission from counsel for Ms Gobbo as to why the Commission should not tender or act on the transcripts of conversations between Ms Gobbo, her lawyers, the Commissioner and counsel assisting the Commission and the draft unsigned statement prepared by her counsel. I am deeply conscious of the requirements of procedural fairness under the Inquiries Act, however, under that Act I am not bound by the rules of evidence and may inform myself on any matter as I see fit. This is not a court but an inquiry. Having given Ms Gobbo, who has been legally represented throughout the life of the Commission and its hearings, every opportunity to provide a statement without fruition, I am satisfied that the Commission should now receive this material to inform itself of matters relevant to the Commission's Terms of Reference 1 and 2. For the moment those exhibits will remain confidential until I have determined the issue of whether Ms Gobbo has provided a reasonable excuse to the Commission for her non-attendance and the documents have been reviewed by Victoria Police for public interest immunity matters.
Whilst I accept there is considerable weight in the issues raised by Ms Gobbo's counsel, in that these are valid concerns and are relevant to the limited weight that can be provided to the material given that it's unsigned, unsworn and given in circumstances which may have been difficult for her, I am also conscious that during the interviews she was engaged and responsive. It seems appropriate to me that the Commission should receive the material and inform itself of them.
I will mark the transcript of the conversation between the Commission and Ms Gobbo in the presence of her lawyers on 20 March 2019 as Exhibit 787; (a confidential exhibit at this stage) 11 April 2019 as Exhibit 788; and 13 June 19 as Exhibit 789. The unsigned draft statement provided by her counsel is Exhibit 780. They are all, at this stage, confidential exhibits.
I direct that Victoria Police complete the public interest immunity examination of these documents by 12 noon on 3 December, or any such time as otherwise ordered in case there is an extension needed. I adjourn the application for Ms Gobbo to show reasonable cause as to why she has not appeared before the Commission until 9.30 am on Wednesday 4 December.'
Reviewed 03 December 2019