Our dear Princeling has placed himself in political hot water over conflict of interest matters. Now, this from the man who in the last election wrapped himself in the cloth of honesty and angelic purity that placed him above any action or appearance of action that would even smell of conflict of interest.
It seems he travelled to a private island , owned by a billionaire whose foundation receives money from the very Federal Government of which our Princeling is the leader. It seems our princeling and family and later some political friends actually made use of the billionair’s aircraft to get to the island.
Now when journalists report on this thay often refer to legislation and regulations but seldom give the actual words of the legislation or regulation . I get frustrated with such journalism since I think they should embed in their story the relevant sections so readers can see for themselves what is alleged to have happened .
So , there is A Conflict of Interest Act governing public office holders in the Federal Government . Part 1, Section 12 says:
‘No minister of the Crown, minister of state or parliamentary secretary, no member of his or her family and no ministerial adviser or ministerial staff shall accept travel on non-commercial chartered or private aircraft for any purpose unless required in his or her capacity as a public office holder or in exceptional circumstances or with the prior approval of the Commissioner.’
Now , this is not difficult to understand . Most regular folks can read and understand it .
So our Princeling by any reasonable reading of this section broke or violated this provision.
There is the usual caveats –‘unless required in his or her capacity as a public office holder ‘ being the first. Was our Princeling required to visit a billionaire (who gets money from the Government ) at Christmas on the billionaire’s private island in order to carry out his duties as PM? How ridiculous. This does not apply. The second caveat is ‘in exceptional circumstances ‘ . Is going to visit a billionaire ( who gets money from Government ) on his private island at Christmas constitute an exceptional circumstance? Again ridiculous ! The third caveat is that if the prior approval was obtained from the Conflict of Interest Commissioner. We are told no prior approval was sought.
So , I leave to to you.