18 Sep 2017

Labor has written to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull calling for an independent inquiry into the appointment of Nigel Hadgkiss to the position of Commissioner of the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC).
Given Minister Cash has known about Nigel Hadgkiss’ breach of the law for approximately 12 months, she must come clean and explain why she failed to act.
This is a scandal and nothing short of an independent inquiry will do.
How is it acceptable that, as a Cabinet Minister, Michealia Cash could be aware of legal proceedings against her hand-picked regulator based on his deliberate misrepresentation of the law he was charged to uphold, and wilfully turn a blind eye?
Minister Cash must explain whether and when she informed the Prime Minister and Cabinet about the legal proceedings that were on foot against Mr Hadgkiss, that were so serious they led to his admission that he broke the law for two and a half years, and ultimately to his resignation.

If she did inform them, then why did the Prime Minister and Cabinet appoint Mr Hadgkiss to the new body that was established after the double dissolution election?
If she didn’t inform them, how can Michaelia Cash possibly claim to have satisfied her Ministerial obligations under the Cabinet Handbook, which required her to disclose any sensitivities about the appointment?

Every time the conservatives talk about the ‘rule of law’, Australians will know that Minister Cash was aware for a year of Mr Hadgkiss’s behaviour which amounted to a serious breach of the very laws that he was supposed to uphold – and yet she did nothing.
This shows a contempt for the rule of law – and the seriousness of this situation cannot be overstated.
Unbelievably, the Turnbull Government took the Australian people to a double dissolution election in order to reinstate a botched watchdog headed up by a dodgy Commissioner that they knew about since day one.



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