Friday, 25 May 2012

Yet another Craig in hot water on the Hill

Mr ALBANESE: And I am. The member for Hughes may have failed to declare directorships of several companies, failed to declare potential liabilities arising from the collapse of a company with which he was involved, failed to declare possible criminal charges arising from that collapse and failed to declare that he has been practising as a solicitor at the same time as serving as a member of the House. For the benefit of the House, I will briefly outline the facts that I say potentially constitute contempt against the House. I refer to paragraph 2(d) of the House resolution……..

Mr ALBANESE: Thank you, Madam Deputy Speaker. The member for Hughes has failed to declare registered company directorships for several companies, including Homewares Depot Pty Ltd—the member was a director until 25 March 2011, but this was not declared. He was also the company secretary, but the member failed to declare this on his register of interests too. The member was a director of Valentino Franchising Pty Ltd until 25 March 2011 but failed to declare this. The member was a director of Valentino Home Fashion Pty Ltd until 8 March 2011, but once again the member failed to declare this.
For the benefit of the House, I table an extract from the relevant Australian Securities and Investments Commission database documenting the member's involvement with the companies in question. I also refer to the member's statement of registrable interests for the 43rd Parliament lodged on 25 October 2010 and I table that document. At item 4 of that statement, 'Registered directorships of companies', the member has entered 'nil'. In contempt of the resolution of this House, the member has failed to declare the company directorships to which I have just referred.
What is perhaps more concerning is the member's failure to notify the House of the shadow director role that he allegedly played in another company. In a report of February 2012, the liquidators of the member for Hughes's family company have raised questions about whether he was acting as a shadow director at the time of the collapse. These verAustralian taxpayer through the Australian Taxation Office.
The member might say the shadow directorship was too uncertain to require declaration under rules for company directors. This is a matter that the Privileges Committee will ultimately have to determine. However, even if the member were not required to declare his involvement with DV Kelly Pty Ltd under the rules for company directors, which I dispute, he was required to declare it under other—…….

Mr ALBANESE: Paragraph 2(m) provides that members must declare any interests of any kind where a conflict with their public duties could foreseeably arise or be seen to be arising. That is certainly the case here. The liquidators report that DV Kelly Pty Ltd may have been trading while insolvent, a grave allegation which could carry significant consequences, importantly for the ability of the member to continue his parliamentary career.
Under the Corporations Act 2001, directors, including shadow directors, of companies trading while insolvent can face civil penalties of up to $200,000 and may be held personally liable for debts incurred. Recall that at the time of the collapse DV Kelly Pty Ltd owed $4 million to creditors. As you would be aware, under section 44(iii) of the Australian Constitution, any person who is an undischarged bankrupt is disqualified as a member of the House of Representatives……..

Mr ALBANESE: Thank you, Madam Deputy Speaker. That raises a serious issue with regard to the liabilities that could potentially be incurred there and, in addition, to the potential penalties to which they would be subject.
Finally, we come to the question of the member for Hughes practising as a solicitor while at the same time serving as a member of the House. There have been reports that after ceasing employment with this company the member represented it in several outstanding legal matters. A search of court databases confirms the member's involvement in this litigation. I table another document.
I refer the House again to the resolution concerning registration of interests, in particular paragraph 2(j), which provides that members must declare any substantial sources of income. If the member for Hughes was receiving any income as a result of his involvement in these legal proceedings—even if only costs were incurred in DV Kelly's favour—was this otherwise an interest that might conflict with the member's official duties within the meaning of paragraph 2(m) of the resolution?
I submit the matters I have outlined today indicate the member for Hughes may have failed to satisfy his obligations under the resolution concerning registration of interests and in doing so may have committed a serious contempt against the House of Representatives. This is an issue that should be referred to the House Standing Committee of Privileges and Members' Interests. In my submission I ask that you consider these matters with a view to allowing precedence. I table the document…..

Mr CRAIG KELLY: Earlier today the Leader of the House made a number of assertions relating to me and my register of members' interests. His comments to the House were incorrect, and I would like to clarify the inaccuracies in those assertions.
The Leader of the House asserted that I am a solicitor. I am not a solicitor, and I do not have a law degree. I have never held myself out to be a solicitor nor made any representation to that effect to any person. I have not derived any income or personal benefit from any matters relating to this allegation.
The Leader of the House also asserted that I failed to declare my directorship of several companies. I took steps to resign my directorships of all companies named in August 2010. I provided instructions to my accountant to this effect. My accountant today has confirmed that this is correct, but he did not act on my instructions until March 2011 due to ill-health and hospitalisation on his behalf. At the time I completed my register of members' interests I understood the instructions had been implemented, and I believed them to be correct. I regret that the ASIC record did not reflect the circumstances that I believed to be correct at the time.
The Leader of the House also asserted that I am a shadow director of a company, DV Kelly Pty Ltd. There is no substance whatsoever to this allegation. Further, I have not, nor have ever been, a shareholder or a director of this company……….

Mr ALBANESE: In my statement I raised the question of whether the member for Hughes had been practising as a solicitor while at the same time serving as a member of the House. To assist the House, this was based on two judgments of the New South Wales Administrative Decisions Tribunal, one on 6 April 2011 and the other on 2 August 2011. In the 6 April 2011 document, next to 'Solicitors', it lists Mr Phillip Kelly and Mr Craig Kelly as 'agents for applicant'. In the 2 August 2011 judgment of the tribunal, next to 'Solicitors', it lists C Kelly as the agent. I table both judgments. I am advised that at the Administrative Decisions Tribunal of New South Wales it is possible to represent interested parties as an agent without being a qualified solicitor. I note the member for Hughes's statement that he was not acting as a solicitor during these hearings. The other matters raised remain matters to be considered by the Privileges Committee. I thank the House.


Questions over Liberal MP's family business collapse by Andrew Crook in SmartCompany on Monday, 12 March 2012 09:21  

Excerpt from Craig Kelly’s first speech in Parliament on 15 November 2010 :

A little over one year ago I was not a member of any political party, and I never had been, but I was someone with a fundamental belief in our free enterprise system. I was just an average Australian, someone working ridiculously long hours in a small family business and trying to do the best for his family. But I became deeply troubled that Labor governments not only had lost their way but had completely lost the plot and at every turn were heading our nation in the wrong direction.
I owe my presence here today to the democratic traditions of the Liberal Party, a party that embraces all those who share its values and a party that gives opportunities to those who join later in life.
I come to Canberra keen to put almost 30 years of hands-on experience in manufacturing, wholesaling, international trade, retailing and franchising to good use.  

A line of credit to DVK International Furniture Pty Ltd listed as an investment appears to be indicated in Kelly’s 2010 Statement of Registrable Interests.
Excerpt from the Administrator’s report concerning DV Kelly Pty Ltd and mentioning DVK International and Craig Kelly.

1 comment:

sue said...

Craig Kelly looks a more likely person to be drummed out of parliament than Craig T, and with no media scrutiny