The Australian Federal Police has decided drop investigations into allegations that federal energy minister Angus Taylor and his office used a fraudulent document as the basis for a political attack against Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore.
The case was referred to the AFP by the New South Wales police, following their own formal investigation – Strike Force Garrad – into the circumstances of the false accusations against Moore and her travel expenditure, which Taylor has admitted were wrong.
But the AFP said on Thursday that it was struggling to find evidence to pursue the case.
“Following inquiries undertaken and information provided by NSW Police, the AFP has determined it is unlikely further investigation will result in obtaining sufficient evidence to substantiate a Commonwealth offence,” an AFP spokesperson said in a statement.
“The AFP assessment of this matter identified there is no evidence to indicate the Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction was involved in falsifying information.
The initial investigation into the “reported creation of fraudulent documentation” was launched by NSW Police in November, sparking calls from the federal Labor opposition for Taylor to stand down from his ministerial positions.
Labor was equally vocal on Thursday in response to the news – reported by Sky – that the AFP had dropped the case, and said serious questions remained unanswered over the actions of Taylor, who is also the minister for emissions reduction.
“Two police investigations have now failed to clarify where Angus Taylor got his dodgy figures from,” said shadow energy minister Mark Butler in a statement on Thursday afternoon.
“Angus Taylor assured Parliament that this fabricated report was ‘directly downloaded’ from the City of Sydney Council website. We know this is not true as a law enforcement official confirmed, ‘The document had to have been doctored from Canberra.’
“If Angus Taylor continues to refuse to come clean, then the Prime Minister must order a proper, independent and transparent investigation into his minister, and commit to making the findings public,” Butler said.