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December 04, 2017



Today’s supplementary estimates hearing started with Minister Cash refusing to answer ANY relevant questions because of a criminal investigation centred around her office.  And it didn’t get any better for the Minister from there.


Despite Cash’s desperate attempt to avoid scrutiny, here is what we have learned from today:


  • The Australian Federal Police (AFP) has an ongoing investigation into the leak by Minister Cash’s office to the media about the ROC raid on the AWU. 

  • Minister Cash is using the AFP investigation to avoid answering any questions about anything which might possibly relate in any way to the ROC raid on the AWU  - particularly who knew what and when. 

  • Minister Cash’s PII claim extends the AFP criminal investigation to communications between her office and the Prime Minister’s office, to staffing arrangements in her office and the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO). What has she got to hide?

  • The only matter Senator Cash has referred to the ROC just happens to be a 10-year old matter involving the AWU. She hasn’t referred any other matter to the ROC. Not one. 

The only matter about which Senator Cash has been briefed on operational activities just happens to be a 10-year old matter involving the AWU, and the ROC admitted it doesn’t even know whether it could lawfully share that information.

  • It cost the taxpayer at least $450000 in legal costs  - for in-house ABCC lawyers and for Ashurst Lawyers to represent Michaelia Cash’s disgraced ABCC Commissioner Mr Nigel Hadgkiss. This indemnity was approved by the Minister herself - who then it seems did nothing to monitor the enormous blow out of costs to the public.  

  • The ABCC lawyer looking after the Hadgkiss case formerly worked for Minister Cash and for Ashurst lawyers.

  • The ROC, the ABCC, and the FWO have been thoroughly politicised by the Turnbull Government. Just three days before the APF investigation into the AWU commenced, the ROC changed the regulator (and it’s predecessor’s) long standing litigation policy.  


Minister Cash presided over the resignation of her handpicked Commissioner for breaching the law he was supposed to uphold; she approved taxpayers paying almost half a million dollars for him to drag out the case for more than 12 months before admitting breaching the Fair Work Act; she lost an advisor for leaking a federal police investigation to the media; there is currently a federal police investigation into her office’s conduct; she has misled the Senate five times; and she has fatally politicised each of the regulators she is responsible for. 


The Prime Minister must finally show some leadership and sack Michaelia Cash.