Melbourne press conference

SUBJECT/S: Angus Taylor’s eligibility, Neil Prakash.


SUBJECT/S: Angus Taylor’s eligibility, Neil Prakash.
MARK DREYFUS, SHADOW ATTORNEY-GENERAL: Another year, another senior Morrison minister under a cloud. We ended last year with Peter Dutton under a cloud because of his association with a number of childcare centres that cast his eligibility to sit in Parliament and his eligibility to be a minister under serious doubt. Now we have Energy Minister Angus Taylor suffering from the same problem.
He’s had shares in a company, Derwent, which has had a number of contracts with the Commonwealth and he’s refusing to make clear exactly when he held those shares. It appears that he still held the shares at the time of the last election, which would put his eligibility to sit in Parliament in doubt. But he’s now saying that he sold the shares in January 2016. His problem is that that is inconsistent with what he told the register of interests, with what he himself put on the register of interests, that members are required to record their interests in. It’s also inconsistent with what Derwent, the company in question, told ASIC.
So what we have is Mr Taylor claiming to have sold shares, but it is inconsistent with both his own returns to the register of interests and the returns that the company made to ASIC. Mr Taylor has up until now not provided any proof at all that he sold the shares at an earlier time than he told the register of interests or that the company has told ASIC and it’s long past time for Mr Morrison to step in and put this matter beyond doubt. We cannot have yet another Morrison government minister whose eligibility to serve in the Parliament and eligibility to be a minister remains in doubt.
If I can just say something else about the matter of Neil Prakash. Neil Prakash is an alleged terrorist who is now in a Turkish gaol, facing serious charges brought against him by the Turkish criminal justice system. He’s the man that Mr Dutton, in an extraordinary stunt over the summer, has made an announcement  about, that according to Mr Dutton, he’s decided that Mr Prakash is no longer an Australian citizen. This has caused immense embarrassment to Australia at a time, right now, when Mr Morrison, the Prime Minister, is about to go on a tour of the Pacific, which will include a visit to our friend Fiji.
It seems almost certain that Mr Dutton did not consult with the Prime Minister, again showing the chaos within the Morrison government, before he made his announcement about Prakash having lost his citizenship, and unfortunately the government of Fiji has made it absolutely crystal clear that Prakash is not a citizen of Fiji.
We have an incompetent minister, Mr Dutton, who has created an embarrassment for Australia and again, Mr Morrison needs to clear this up instantly, so as not to continue the embarrassment that has been caused with our friend Fiji. It is long past time for Mr Morrison to do this. It is regrettable that we have an incompetent minister in Mr Dutton, who seems more concerned about reviving his shrivelled political career, than actually dealing with terrorism threats that Australia is facing.