As Laura Tingle wrote in the Financial Review this week: They ( Brough and Wyatt Roy, (Asst Minister for Innovation) are being investigated by the coppers, for heaven sake. Brough’s house has been raided
In Question Time on Wednesday, he gave exactly the opposite answer to the question he had been asked on 60 minutes – did you ask James Ashby to procure copies of Peter Slipper’s diary for you?
‘No’, he told the House – having told 60 Minutes ‘yes’.
Mal Brough may have to take it on the chin
As Ministers go, the Special Minister of State really doesn’t have all that much to do. The minister mainly takes responsibility for a number of administrative and review tribunals. It’s a really good position to give to someone you owe are favour, but who you wouldn’t want doing anything important.
The difficulty is that the Minister is responsible for Parliamentary integrity and it is not a good look when the police are rating his house looking for evidence for a criminal prosecution.
As a man who likes to flaunt his classical education, Malcolm Turnbull would surely be aware of Julius Caesar who said “Caesar’s wife must be above suspicion” when asked why he divorced his wife, Pompeia. Because she was suspected of some wrongdoing, he could not associate with her anymore.
Pompeia d. AD 122 wife of Julius Caeser
The argument of the presumption of innocence does not wash with Ministers of State. The public has a right to expect that Ministers will not even be suspected of wrongdoing, let alone convicted.
The PM cannot be happy about Brough appearing to mislead Parliament
Unfortunately, the conventions that ministers would stand down while be investigated by the police is more honoured in the breach than the observance.
It’s not a good look for Turnbull whose role in the infamous Gordwin Grech/Utegate case has made it clear that he is no stranger to political chicanery.
Former Treasury official Godwin Grech.
The important question is whether Brough was acting alone in his pursuit of Slipper. Given the antipathy within the Parliamentary Liberal Party towards Slipper, it’s difficult to imagine that this was a maverick operation.
Brough may find himself being the fall guy to keep bigger fish out of the net.
iIt would be interesting to know who those bigger fish might be