By Andy Young
The NSW RSL is set to face an independent inquiry, which will look into allegations of financial misconduct which have plagued the organisation.
The NSW State Government will reveal the details of the inquiry later today, but it will be headed by former NSW Supreme Court justice Patricia Bergin SC. It is expected the inquiry will have royal commission-like powers to compel witnesses to appear and be able to seize evidence.
The inquiry comes after a series of allegations of financial rorting by the RSL’s NSW branch, which have already seen an inquiry by Australia’s charities watchdog. In December former NSW RSL president Don Rowe was referred to NSW Police over claims he used his corporate credit card to withdraw $200,000 in cash.
NSW Minister for Innovation and Better Regulation, Matt Kean today told the ABC, that enough was enough and it was time to be clear on what was happening at the RSL.
“We will get to the bottom of these allegations once and for all,” Kean said. “These are serious complaints and the fact that they’ve allegedly been committed in the name of one of our oldest and most respected institutions is totally unacceptable.
“We want to clean up the mess and make sure it never happens again.”
Veterans Affairs Minister David Elliott told Fairfax Media that he was “completely fed up”.
“Based on the emails, letters and conversations I have with veterans around NSW, as well as their sub-branches, there is overwhelming support for the government to intervene,” Elliott said.
“It is heartbreaking to see the NSW RSL trashed in such a way and this is an opportunity to restore public confidence in this iconic organisation.”
Ministers Elliott and Kean will address media this afternoon to announce the full details of the inquiry.
This story first appeared in The Shout.