The Sydney Morning Herald is reporting that the Commonwealth Ombudsman is in the process of resigning over his ill advised estimates collusion with Greens’ Senator Sarah Hanson-Young.
Emails released last week showed he had written questions for the Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young about the conditions inside immigration detention centres and the lack of funding that prevented his office from performing its immigration overwatch role.
Senator Hanson-Young then asked Mr Asher those scripted questions when he appeared before a Senate estimates committee in May.
The Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, said this morning that Mr Asher was yet to explain his actions adequately.
It’s a great shame he appears to have over-reached himself this way having had some useful things to say about public administration.
UPDATE: And the resignation is official.
‘It is with sadness that I made the decision to tender my resignation,’ Mr Asher said, ‘but I have done so because I recognise that the Office of the Commonwealth Ombudsman’s enduring strength lies in community confidence in its integrity.
‘I have always acted in the interest of those I have served and to bring about meaningful, broad ranging and long-term reforms to public administration. However, I accept that my actions prior to the May 2011 Budget Estimates hearing caused many in the community and the Parliament to call into question the impartiality of my office.
‘I regret deeply that my office’s reputation may have been damaged by my actions and apologise sincerely to my staff and to our clients. However, I do hope that some good will come of this incident by way of public discussion and debate about future funding and an appropriate accountability mechanism for the Commonwealth Ombudsman,’ he said.