Bell group - what did Porter know?

Christian Porter’s late confession that he knew far more about the Bell Group saga than originally disclosed – delivered just days before Christmas – raises serious questions about the depth of his involvement in this sordid affair.

THE HON MARK DREYFUS QC MP

SHADOW ATTORNEY-GENERAL

SHADOW MINISTER FOR NATIONAL SECURITY

MEMBER FOR ISAACS

BELL GROUP – WHAT DID PORTER KNOW?

 

Christian Porter’s late confession that he knew far more about the Bell Group saga than originally disclosed – delivered just days before Christmas – raises serious questions about the depth of his involvement in this sordid affair.

 

Despite telling Parliament on 30 November that his involvement was extremely limited, and that he had no discussions with then-Treasurer Mr Hockey’s office over the matter, Mr Porter has now changed his story.

 

A letter delivered to the Clerk of the House of Representatives four days before Christmas confesses that Mr Porter in fact received two emails on the Bell matter from Mr Hockey’s office as well as a ream of information concerning the WA state legislation, and two background briefing notes from the WA government.

 

It is clear that Mr Porter’s involvement goes far deeper than he had been prepared to own up to in Parliament on 30 November. Senator Brandis labelled Mr Porter a “facilitator”, which Senator Brandis later tried to deny he ever said.

 

What role was Mr Porter playing, while Mr Hockey was trying to devise a secret deal to deprive the Commonwealth taxpayer of $300 million?

 

What role did he later play when Senator Brandis tried to interfere in a High Court proceeding in order to defend that deal?

 

Why would he have been sent so much information in support of the WA government’s legislation if he wasn’t trying to convince his federal colleagues of its merits?

 

Why did it take Mr Porter three full weeks to do a proper search of his emails, and why did he send the letter to the Clerk under the cover of the Christmas holidays?

 

This affair goes right to the heart of the integrity of this government, and has now ensnared five Turnbull government ministers – Mr Porter, Senator Brandis, Mathias Cormann, Kelly O’Dwyer and Josh Frydenberg. Labor will continue to ensure the government is held to account for its actions and work to uncover the full facts of this matter.

 

TUESDAY, 27 DECEMBER 2016