NO COMMENT’ IS NOT GOOD ENOUGH FOR DUTTON’S LIBERAL FUNDRAISER
Immigration Minister Peter Dutton has serious questions to answer about hosting a Liberal fundraiser attended by those bidding for a multi-million dollar contract with his department.
On 1 September, Mr Dutton and Liberal Senator Zed Seselja held a $995 per head dinner at Canberra’s Boathouse Restaurant. Six of the 11 guests are reported to have been representatives of the companies vying for the Department of Immigration and Border Protection’s new accommodation contract.
It has also been alleged that the tender was the subject of discussion between the Minister and his guests during the event.
The tender process has been mired in delays since the Abbott Government announced it was considering moving the Department of Immigration out of Belconnen in September last year.
Labor has campaigned long and hard to keep the department in the spot it has occupied since the 1970s, as moving it would gut the Belconnen Town Centre and displace thousands of workers.
Peter Dutton appears to have compromised that option by attending this fundraiser with the company behind the Belconnen bid. He has put financial gain for the local Liberals ahead of the best interests of the Canberra community.
Commonwealth Procurement Rules are very clear about appropriate behaviour for government officials during a tender process.
6.6 In particular, officials undertaking procurement must act ethically throughout the procurement. Ethical behaviour includes:
a. recognising and dealing with actual, potential and perceived conflicts of interest;
b. dealing with potential suppliers, tenderers and suppliers equitably, including by
i. seeking appropriate internal or external advice when probity issues arise, and
ii. not accepting inappropriate gifts or hospitality;
Surely Minister Dutton should uphold the same ethical standards that he expects of his departmental officials?
Mr Dutton must now give a full account of his involvement in this fundraiser, and answer the following questions:
- Who were the attendees?
- Would the Minister have met with tenderers if they did not donate $995 per person to the Liberal Party?
- What details of the Immigration tender were discussed?
- Was the same information then communicated to any tenderers who were not at the fundraiser?
- Were any promises made to those attending?
Mr Dutton has made a habit of secrecy during his time in the Immigration portfolio. This is one occasion where ‘no comment’ simply will not wash.
TUESDAY, 22 SEPTEMBER 2015
MEDIA CONTACTS: LIDIJA IVANOVSKI 0427 051 563 (MARLES)
JENNIFER RAYNER 0428 214 856 (LEIGH)