Brandis Beggars Belief: LNP donor appointment to Tribunal "No conflict of interest”

It only takes Senator Brandis another day to find himself mired in another scandal.

THE HON MARK DREYFUS QC MP

SHADOW ATTORNEY-GENERAL

SHADOW MINISTER FOR NATIONAL SECURITY

ACTING SHADOW MINISTER FOR JUSTICE

MEMBER FOR ISAACS

 

BRANDIS BEGGARS BELIEF: LNP DONOR APPOINTMENT TO TRIBUNAL “NO CONFLICT OF INTEREST”

 

It only takes Senator Brandis another day to find himself mired in another scandal.

Today, Senator Brandis made the astonishing revelation during a Senate estimates hearing that he failed to declare a conflict of interest to the Cabinet when he recommended the appointment of his son’s lawyer and Liberal Party donor, Theo Tavoularis, to a $370,000-a-year job on the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.

This is a clear breach of Cabinet rules, which require Ministers to declare any conflicts of interest in relation to Cabinet business.

Senator Brandis also said he would “have to check” whether his son’s lawyer, Theo Tavoularis, was paid full commercial rates or a discounted rate for his services.

It is beyond belief that Senator Brandis has not thought it necessary to establish before today whether Mr Tavoularis effectively gave the Brandis family a gift, for which he was apparently rewarded with a plum job on the taxpayer dollar.

It was only Friday last week when it was confirmed by a Senate committee that Senator Brandis has misled the Parliament over consultation with the Solicitor-General, and lied to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security about the Solicitor-General’s advice on the constitutionality of a key bill.

Now we have an apparent admission that he failed to honour Cabinet rules in relation to conflicts of interest.

How many chances will Senator Brandis get from this weak Prime Minister? His position as Attorney-General is untenable.

If Mr Turnbull had any backbone, he would have sacked Senator Brandis months ago.

The longer Senator Brandis clings on, the more of a joke this Prime Minister becomes. He should sack him today.

 

Excerpt of the Cabinet Handbook:

 

Declarations of Private Interests

  1. Ministers and officials attending Cabinet or Cabinet committee meetings must, declare any private interests of which they are aware. This can include pecuniary interests, held by them or by members of their immediate family, which may give rise to a conflict with their public duties. Any such declarations will be recorded by the Cabinet note takers.

  2. It is then open to the Chair of the meeting to excuse a minister from the discussion or to agree expressly to his or her taking part. Generally, a minister would withdraw from discussion of any proposal to appoint a person to a Government body who is a relative of that minister.

https://www.dpmc.gov.au/sites/default/files/publications/Cabinet_Handbook_9th_edition.pdf


MONDAY, 17 OCTOBER 2016