Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Government shuts down passage to transfer Christian Porter’s secret funds to privilege investigation

The government has blocked an investigation into whether Christian Porter violated his parliamentary privileges by refusing to disclose who made a donation for his legal fees.

This came despite the fact that Speaker Tony Smith made a motion to Labor to discuss the priority of links, which usually means that the House will send the matter to the Privileges Committee.

Opposition business manager Tony Burke said this was the first time the government had voted against the transfer of privileges, which the speaker had given priority.

After Labor argued Monday that Porter should be sent, Smith announced on Wednesday that “based on my careful consideration of all the information available to me, I am convinced that prima facie evidence has been presented.”

Smith clarified that saying this “does not mean that a violation … has occurred.”

House of Representatives practice indicates that in order for a request for privilege to prevail, the Speaker must be satisfied with “prima facie evidence of disrespect or violation of privilege”.

The government opposed the proposal, which was then rejected.

Burke said the government has abandoned a principle that has been a “key defense against corruption” since the inception of the federal parliament.

“This means that we may never know the truth about who paid Mr. Porter’s legal bills and what they can expect in return.



Read more: Christian Porter leaves office, refusing to find out who gave him money for legal fees


“This is a shameful, shameful moment in Australian political history,” Burke said in a statement.

Porter was forced to resign from the ministry last month because he did not disclose the names of those who donated to the “blind trust” to help with his accounts for the defamation lawsuit he brought against ABC. He said he did not know the names and was “not willing to try to violate the privacy of those people who contributed to my legal fees.”

House Leader Peter Dutton, opposing the link, said there was a much broader issue because there were “a number of other similar cases.”

Dutton wrote to Chairman of the Privileges Committee, Russell Broadbent, asking for clarification on what is required for a register of MPs when members receive contributions or assistance from third parties, including from crowdfunding and political parties, on personal legal matters or any other matter.

The letter specifies assistance with legal fees in the form of financial or non-financial contributions and the provision of legal services at a reduced or no cost basis.



Read more: Grattan Friday: Porter’s Blind Trust Funding Is A Test of Integrity for Morrison


In Parliament, Dutton initiated a crowdfunding campaign by Green Senator Sarah Hanson-Young for her legal action against then-Senator David Leijonhelm.

He pointed to a number of names that were clearly invented.

Hanson-Young said she received 1,800 donations, of which only eight donations exceeded the $ 300 disclosure threshold.

“I announced all donations in the spirit of the interests of MPs and Senators, and Mr. Porter should do the same.”

A spokeswoman said that all persons with fictitious names are under the doorstep.

This article is republished from – The Conversation – Read the – original article.

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