While we are all at the beach and otherwise distracted, Malcolm Turnbull has been doing some house cleaning.
Liberal MP Mal Brough will stand aside, pending a police investigation of the Peter Slipper matter, while Jamie Briggs has tendered his resignation as Minister for Cities and the Built Environment following a late-night incident involving a female public servant in a Hong Kong bar during an official overseas visit last month.
Both, I think, were pushed.
(Image from Simon Letch at the SMH.)
Meanwhile Royal Commissioner Dyson Heydon investigating trade unions has delivered his report referring to “widespread and deep-seated” misconduct by union officials.
- More than 40 individuals and organisations have been referred to various authorities, including police, directors of public prosecutions, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission and the Fair Work Commission.
There was also a recommendation for an independent body with greater powers to investigate union records and finances.
The Guardian makes it:
- A total of 93 people have been referred as a result of the inquiry: 48 for criminal charges and 45 for civil charges.
Here’s the link to the full report.
It is said that National Party leader Warren Truss is also considering his future.
Terry Barnes in commenting on the ministerial dumpings thinks a March election may well be on the cards. He could be right, for three reasons.
Firstly, the polls are brilliant and are unlikely to get any better.
Secondly, a double dissolution would allow him to bypass the pesky independents in the senate, albeit at the risk of electing even more of them.
Third, best to get in before the budget, which is bound to be unpleasant.
On Brough, if Turnbull has half a brain, and he certainly does, he’ll shed Brough entirely.
The Guardian article quotes Turnbull as saying that he’s willing to fight an election on industrial relations, and goes into the nature and timing of the relevant legislation.
On Briggs, the ABC has been reluctant to go into detail. For what it’s worth the presenter on ABC local radio last night said he complimented the staffer on her piercing eyes, threw his arm around her (one arm only, I think) and planted a kiss. She obviously was unimpressed enough to make a complaint. That’s from memory.
There’s more at the SMH.
A reshuffle in February, an election in March, a budget in May sounds a bit rushed. I tend to think they will toughen up the registered organisation legislation before reintroducing it, and work up a program on tax reform before thinking of elections. That will take time.
One way or another, though, I think Turnbull would be quite pleased with the last couple of days. He has more options.
Matthew Knott looks at other politicians who got into trouble while out on the town.