Thursday, 26 October 2017

Australian Employment Minister Michaelia Cash misleads parliament and the media

“She could not make eye contact with Doug Cameron when responding to his questions. She was as twitchy as a cockatoo on coke.” - @MSMWatchdog2013

BuzzFeed News, 25 October 2017:

Cash denied five times her office leaked the information, telling Senate Estimates her office was not informed about the raids until they had begun.

"I found out as it unfolded on the television after I returned from a meeting yesterday about 4.45pm on the ABC," Cash said on Wednesday morning.

"My understanding was that a phone call was made to my office once the search warrant was issued just before I saw it on the television ... 4.30, 4.45pm," she said.

When asked if she or her office advised any other person about the raid, Cash said: "No, as I said I literally watched it on the television unfold myself".

When asked again if anyone in her office had tipped-off the media, Cash said: "I said my office received a phone call from the Registered Organisation Commission notifying them that search warrants were being executed as the phone call was being made."

When asked a third time, Cash said her office fielded media calls for her to respond after the raids, but denied it had tipped-off the media.

"I have full faith in my staff," she said.

When asked a fourth time, Cash said she could "assure" senators that her office "did not find out about the raids until after they were being conducted".

Cash then refuted the claims for a fifth time saying:

DOUG CAMERON: Can you assure the Senate that no-one in your office called any media outlets about 3.30 yesterday?

MICHAELIA CASH: Yes I can and quite frankly I am offended on behalf of my staff as to those allegations. They are very serious allegations.

CAMERON: They are questions.

CASH: They are very serious allegations and I refute them.

Prime minister Malcolm Turnbull later told Question Time: "The minister for employment has assured me that she did not advise any journalists about the raid ... she is in estimates, I believe, this afternoon, and will no doubt have the opportunity to go into this in great detail."

BuzzFeed News has spoken to journalists who claim they received a phone call from Cash's office an hour before the raids, to make sure there would be cameras outside the AWU offices in Melbourne and Sydney.

The journalists say Cash's office phoned them around 3.30pm on Tuesday with the location and time of the raid, emphasising that it would take place at a union office.

The staffer pointed out the union in question, the AWU, used to be run by Labor leader Bill Shorten.

Labor has backed independent senator Nick Xenophon’s call for an independent inquiry to establish who tipped-off the media prior to the AFP raids. [my yellow highlighting]

The Minister's denials came unstuck once BuzzFeed published this article online, however she continued denying personal knowledge and instead blamed her media adviser.
Senator Cash is also allegedly denying knowing that BuzzFeed contacted her office for comment "well before" the article was published.

Is it imagination or is Michaelia’s nose getting longer?

The question remains as to exactly when, rather than if, Michaelia Cash knew there was to be an Australian Federal Police raid on Australian Workers Union premises on 24 October 2017.

Because neither the Registered Organisation Commission nor the police are likely to have bypassed this particular government minster and opted to directly contacted a staffer instead, when the minister herself is reportedly the original source of the complaint made against the union.

Whether or not the Australian Parliament choses to believe her deception was not deliberate, the average voter is unlikely to give this senator the benefit of the doubt - she has form and will turn a blind eye to unlawful actions if it suits her purpose.


Registered Organisation Commission Statement:

On 25 October 2017 the AWU successfully applied to the court to have union documents obtained by police frozen until the court ruled on the legality of the seizure.

No comments: