House debates

Thursday, 21 February 2019

Statements by Members

Government Procurement

1:45 pm

Photo of Tim WattsTim Watts (Gellibrand, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

Chumgate is a very liberal scandal. It's a scandal of Liberal chums, Liberal donors, Liberal CEOs, Liberal Treasurers, Liberal shareholders, Liberal finance ministers and, of course, a very liberal approach to travel arrangements.

When the Liberal finance minister, Mathias Cormann, wanted to book a family holiday to Singapore, he didn't hop on the internet to find a deal for his flights; he used his mobile phone to directly call a Liberal CEO of a travel company with major government contracts and ended up getting the flights for free. When the subsidiary of that Liberal CEO's travel company wanted contracts with DFAT, they didn't wait for a tender; they asked the ambassador to the US, the former Liberal Treasurer, one of their 20 largest shareholders, to set up a meeting for them.

It's just like the time the former Liberal Speaker of the parliament, Bronwyn Bishop, travelled to the wedding of former Liberal MP, Sophie Mirabella, and charged taxpayers for the privilege, or the time that Bronwyn Bishop decided to travel from Melbourne to Geelong for a Liberal fundraiser by helicopter and charged taxpayers $5,000 for the jolly. It's the Liberal way to fly—with someone else picking up the bill. The then Treasurer, Joe Hockey, said that Bronwyn Bishop's very liberal travel arrangements didn't pass the sniff test. Well, Joe, chumgate doesn't pass the sniff test either. In fact, it stinks—and the stench isn't going away.

We know that the Liberals think that there's one rule for them and another rule for everyone else. So we know that it's only a matter of time before this Liberal approach to travel arrangements embroils more Liberal MPs and chums in the 'hellogate' scandal.