Bell Group: Did the Attorney-General try to block the ATO from intervening?

During a Senate hearing today, Attorney-General George Brandis repeatedly refused to say whether his office made an attempt to block the Australian Taxation Office from intervening in the Bell Group High Court case.

THE HON MARK DREYFUS QC MP

SHADOW ATTORNEY-GENERAL

SHADOW MINISTER FOR NATIONAL SECURITY

MEMBER FOR ISAACS

 

BELL GROUP: DID THE ATTORNEY-GENERAL TRY TO BLOCK THE ATO FROM INTERVENING? 

During a Senate hearing today, Attorney-General George Brandis repeatedly refused to say whether his office made an attempt to block the Australian Taxation Office from intervening in the Bell Group High Court case.

Senator Brandis is abusing public interest immunity in an attempt to hide the truth of his involvement in the dodgy deal with the West Australian government in the Bell matter, which would have cost the Commonwealth taxpayer $300 million had it succeeded.

When specifically asked if his office prepared a direction which would have prevented the ATO from intervening in the High Court case to protect Commonwealth revenue, Senator Brandis tried to claim he could not answer because it related to legal advice.

When asked if he was aware of the ATO asking for advice on the legality of such a direction, Senator Brandis said “I’d need to check” and “I’m not saying it didn’t happen”.

If no such direction was ever prepared, why can’t Senator Brandis just say “no”?

Senator Brandis has tried to obfuscate and muddle his way out of this mess. Given the gravity of the matter at stake, and the hundreds of millions of dollars involved, you would think Senator Brandis would just come clean if he had nothing to hide.

That he does not come clean speaks volumes.

Labor will continue to pursue this matter until the truth comes out. Senator Brandis will not be allowed to use the London High Commission as an escape route to avoid the consequences for his actions.

 

WEDNESDAY, 8 MARCH 2017