Mathias Cormann knew more on Bell

Another week, another Turnbull minister with something to confess about how much they knew about the Bell affair.

THE HON MARK DREYFUS QC MP

SHADOW ATTORNEY-GENERAL

SHADOW MINISTER FOR NATIONAL SECURITY

MEMBER FOR ISAACS

MATHIAS CORMANN KNEW MORE ON BELL

 

Another week, another Turnbull minister with something to confess about how much they knew about the Bell affair.

 

Just last week Social Services Minister Christian Porter changed his story, and now we have Mathias Cormann doing the same thing. It is clear the Turnbull government is being far from honest about the involvement of its most senior ministers in its dirty deal with the West Australian Government, which could have cost the Australian taxpayer more than $300 million.

 

Just three months ago Senator Cormann vehemently denied to the Senate having any contact with the Australian Taxation Office about the Bell matter:

 

Senator Cormann:I do not believe that I have had any interactions whatsoever with the Australian Taxation Office in relation to this matter. I am a citizen in the state of Western Australia, and I am obviously aware of what the state government in Western Australia is doing. But I have not been involved, as far as I can recall, in any engagement with the Australian Taxation Office in relation to this matter, which appropriately acts independently in relation to these things.

                                                                                                                                                                - SENATE ESTIMATES HEARING, ECONOMICS LEGISLATION COMMITTEE, 19 OCT 2016

 

Now, three months later, Senator Cormann has been forced to confess that he personally requested a briefing from the Australian Taxation Office in September 2015, after meeting with West Australian Treasurer Mike Nahan a month earlier.

 

This stinks. Why did Senator Cormann take such a personal interest in the matter directly after speaking with Dr Nahan? What other communications did he have with Dr Nahan about the matter after receiving the briefing? How could he “forget” his involvement in the matter so easily? And why, as Minister for Finance, was he not more concerned about the passage of state legislation which sought to dud the Australian taxpayer of more than $300 million?

 

There is far more to be uncovered in this matter, which spreads wider and wider through the senior ranks of the Turnbull government. It is past time for a full explanation to be made as to how this dodgy deal came about, and who was involved in trying to defend it. Labor will continue to seek those answers.

 

FRIDAY, 6 JANUARY 2017