Monday, 2 September 2013

Is Joe Hockey a repeat offender when it comes to non-disclosure of pecuniary interests?

It must have irked the Murdoch media to have to run with this:

“Aspiring treasurer Joe Hockey has been caught breaching parliamentary rules after failing to declare a family interest for almost his entire 17-year career in federal parliament.
Mr Hockey declared the directorship of Steel Harbour Pty Ltd held by his wife, Melissa Babbage, in May last year among a series of "new positions" under spouse declaration rules. But business records show Ms Babbage was appointed to the role in 1998. Pecuniary interest register declarations are supposed to be made within a month. The revelations come after News Corp Australia revealed earlier this year Arthur Sinodinos, tipped to be Mr Hockey's right-hand man as finance minister in an Abbott government, failed to declare six company directorships in his first year in the upper house. The directorship blunder has emerged ahead of a key economic debate showdown between Mr Hockey and Treasurer Chris Bowen at the National Press Club in Canberra on Wednesday. Mr Hockey yesterday suggested he was clueless about his wife's business interests for 14 years and would not explain what the company did.”

However, what the Murdoch media failed to mention in that article was the fact that Mr. Hockey had been down this road before if the House of Representatives Hansard of 26 March 2007 is any guide:

Ms GILLARD (3:09 PM) —Mr Speaker, I have a question to you relating to the obligation of members to declare registrable interests. Can you investigate the reasons why the member for North Sydney did not declare his interest in Babbage Hockey Pty Ltd until 19 February 2007, more than 12 months after the company’s registration? Can you also investigate the reason why the member has failed to disclose his previous directorship of the company? Finally, can you advise the House whether the member’s claim that he was not required to declare the company because ‘we did not know what we were going to do with it’ is consistent with the obligations on members—
Honourable members interjecting—
Ms GILLARD —they are quite simple questions—to comply with House resolutions relating to the disclosure of interests? It is in the interests of all members of the House to be clear on these things.
The SPEAKER —I thank the Deputy Leader of the Opposition. I do not believe that question time is the time to raise that issue; however, I will examine the points that she has raised. I will take those on notice and I will give further consideration to them.
Then there is this trading partnership (shown in the snapshot below) which perhaps requires further explanation, as it does not appear that in his Register of Members' Interests statement Mr. Hockey has informed the Parliament that the partnership has apparently been reactivated.

Click on image to enlarge

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