SHADOW MINISTER FOR CONSTITUTIONAL REFORM
MEMBER FOR ISAACS
ANOTHER MORRISON-JOYCE GOVERNMENT TAXPAYER-FUNDED LEGAL BONANZA FOR MINISTERS
Senate Estimates has confirmed taxpayers are footing the bill for yet another Morrison-Joyce Government Minister’s defamation case, this time for Michael Sukkar.
On 21 August, Minister Cash made a formal declaration that:
I have approved assistance under section 85 of the Parliamentary Business Resources Regulations 2017 (the Regulations) for the Hon Michael Sukkar MP, Assistant Treasurer, Minister for Housing and Minister for Homelessness, Social and Community Housing, in relation to a defamation claim made against him on 9 August 2021. I have approved payment by the Commonwealth of
- The costs of legal representation in relation to proceedings and other costs related to proceedings
- Damages or costs awarded against him, and
- A reasonable amount payable by him in the settlement of proceedings subject to any such settlement being consistent with legal principle and practice.
Under questioning in Senate Estimates last night, Attorney-General Michaelia Cash refused to say why she had approved taxpayer funding for Mr Sukkar – or even why Mr Sukkar is being sued.
Taxpayer-funded legal assistance is appropriate when ministers are sued in relation to the performance of ministerial duties.
But taxpayers should not be footing the bills for the legal stumbles of Scott Morrison’s ministers when they are at fault and their legal bills have nothing to do with their official duties.
If public funds are being used to defend a defamation action, the public has a right to know why the minister is being sued and by whom.
We need to be assured that taxpayers are not footing the bills for personal legal fights and party political squabbles.
WEDNESDAY, 27 OCTOBER 2021