Morrison refuses to stand down Taylor after NSW police launches strike force | RenewEconomy

Morrison refuses to stand down Taylor after NSW police launches strike force

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Morrison under pressure to stand down energy minister Angus Taylor after NSW Police launch formal investigation into reports of “fraudulent documentation”.

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Prime minister Scott Morrison has refused to stand down Angus Taylor from his ministerial positions, after NSW Police commenced a formal investigation – Strike Force Garrad – into the circumstances of Taylor’s false accusations against the City of Sydney lord mayor Clover Moore and her travel expenditure.

The investigation into the “reported creation of fraudulent documentation” was confirmed by NSW Police on Tuesday, sparking immediate pressure from the federal Labor opposition in Question Time for the prime minister to stand down Taylor from his ministerial positions, who also doubles as minister for emissions reductions.

Labor said he should stand down, or be stood down, pending the results of the police investigation. Morrison refused to make any such undertaking, but told Question Time that he would wait to talk to NSW Police before considering his next move.

“I will speak directly to the NSW police and I will consider the information they provide me about this matter. And I will exercise my responsibilities under the standards once I have had the opportunity to have those discussions,” Morrison told Question Time.

Shortly after Question Time, Morrison made an additional statement to the Parliament, after the prime minister said he had discussed the matter with the NSW Police Commissioner. He said he did not think any action was required as the investigation was “based only on the allegations referred to” by the shadow attorney general.

“Based on the information provided to me by the Commissioner, I consider there is no action required by me under the [Ministerial standards],” Morrison said.

“The New South Wales police should now be left to lead their inquiries which will be considered upon their completion.”

The government’s ministerial standards require the prime minister to make a determination about a minister’s position if they become subject to a formal investigation.

“Ministers must accept that it is for the Prime Minister to decide whether and when a Minister should stand aside if that Minister becomes the subject of an official investigation of alleged illegal or improper conduct,” the ministerial standards say.

The investigation relates to a letter Taylor wrote to Sydney lord mayor Clover Moore in September, soon after the mayor’s latest climate initiative, that cited grossly inflated figures on domestic and international flights. The letter, with the false figures, were provided to Murdoch’s Daily Telegraph, which relied on the letter to publish a piece highly critical of the Sydney lord mayor.

Taylor was forced to apologise for the error, but resisted demands to explain where the incorrect figures had come from, after initially insisting that his office had found them in the City of Sydney’s annual report.

NSW Police has launched an official investigation, dubbed Strike Force Garrad, to determine whether any criminal offences have been committed.

“The NSW Police Force is in the early stages of investigating information into the reported creation of fraudulent documentation,” the statement from NSW Police says.

“Detectives from the State Crime Command’s Financial Crimes Squad have launched Strike Force Garrad to investigate the matters and determine if any criminal offences have been committed.”

After it became clear that a falsified version of the City of Sydney’s annual report had been produced, shadow attorney general, Mark Dreyfus, referred the issue to NSW Police in October, requesting an investigation of possible offences under the NSW Crimes Act.

During Question Time, Morrison, who appeared not to have known about the formal investigation, refused to indicate what decision he would make on Taylor’s future as a minister, simply saying he would “be taking advice from the New South Wales Police on any matter that they are currently looking at.”

Earlier in the week, Angus Taylor’s office rejected a freedom of information request, seeking copies of email correspondence sent within Taylor’s office, following the details of false figures being used in the letter to Clover Moore becoming public.

Labor leader Anthony Albanese sought to suspend Question Time, to pass a parliamentary motion calling for Angus Taylor to stand aside, but the motion was blocked by the Morrison government using its majority in the House of Representatives.

Albanese’s motion read in part:

“Despite the Minister’s claim, all the evidence to date is that no such document ever existed on the website, the altered document has only ever been produced by the Minister’s office and the doctored figures have only ever been used by the Minister in his official Ministerial correspondence.”

Taylor earlier claimed it was “an outrageous accusation against me by the Labor Party. But to answer the question, Mr Speaker, to answer the question, of course I’ll cooperate with any matter of this sort.”

Former assistant treasurer Arthur Sinodinos was forced to stand aside from that position in 2014 when Sinodinos was called as a witness to hearings of the New South Wales Independent Commission Against Corruption into Liberal party donations. Former Turnbull minister Mal Brough also stood aside from his ministerial positions when he became subject to police investigations related to the James Ashby affair.

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  1. trackdaze 8 months ago

    There Irony is this is the least aggregious thing he’s done since the election.

  2. CM58 8 months ago

    A junior staffer will take the fall, not the Minister.

  3. Joe 8 months ago

    The Taylor defence……Godwin Grech ?

  4. Phil NSW 8 months ago

    For what it is worth I watched question time. Taylor and Morrison know that Taylor is a dead man walking. Their body language gave them away. Taylor has always been a confrontationist arguing black is white with his ridiculous stance on renewables but yesterday I think he was demonstrating court room defence. If he opened his mouth he would be saying something that could be used against him. Time will tell if I am right.

    • Phil NSW 8 months ago

      Do I sense a by-election in Hume?

      • Joe 8 months ago

        Make it a Super Saturday of by-elections, we’ve got Angus Taylor, Gladys Liu and Joshua Frydenberg at the starting gates.

      • trackdaze 8 months ago

        You would think Hume voters would want to reconsider their choices.

  5. ReverseConcaveSpoon 8 months ago

    How’s the PM making a little call to the police commissioner? Oh, and they used to be next door neighbors. The limbo that is Australian politics keeps getting lower.

  6. solarguy 8 months ago

    Australia, colonized by criminals is now run by criminals. A race to the bottom?

  7. DevMac 8 months ago

    This is a rhetorical question because the answer is obvious and depressing, but I’ll ask it anyway:

    Why is the publicizing of a fraudulent document by an Australian Federal Government politician not being investigated by the Australian Federal Police given that the publicizing of legitimate documents by legitimate journalists results in the Australian Federal Police raiding the homes and offices of said legitimate journalists?

    The AFP needs to raid Angus Taytor’s office, interview his staffers, and search and seize all the necessary documentation in order to get to the bottom of who, exactly, committed this fraud. It was tabled in Parliament for god’s sake, the highest level of Australian Government. It’s correct that the NSW police are investigating it, that should be done on the NSW side of this issue, but Angus Taylor brought it to a federal level, so it should be investigated at that level as well.

    There is a rapidly growing archive of evidence that Australian law is applied unequally and dependent upon the size of one’s influence (read: bank balance, especially if one is a bank). I guess it’s been long enough since the last war against fascism that “society’s memory” has faded enough to let things regress.

    • Joe 8 months ago

      The AFP too busy raiding AWU HQ.

  8. Jon 8 months ago

    I’m interested to hear whether the police find him just incredibly stupid or a criminal as well.

    • Joe 8 months ago


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