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The New South Wales upper house has taken the unusual step of expelling a minister, Don Harwin, over the government’s failure to produce documents relating to the $252m Stronger Communities grants scheme.
The removal of Harwin from the house, which has not happened for two decades when Labor’s Michael Egan was removed, marks a significant escalation of tensions between the government on the one hand and Labor and the minor parties on the other.
It comes as the premier, Gladys Berejiklian, faces her most significant political challenge over her secret relationship with the disgraced MP Daryl Maguire, who is under investigation by the Independent Commission against Corruption.
Harwin is one of Berejiklian’s most loyal supporters. The changed numbers in the upper house mean she could face another no-confidence motion, which would be likely to succeed without Harwin’s vote in the chamber. While an upper house vote would not prevent her attending parliament because she is a member of the lower house, it would be a significant blow to the government’s attempts to fend off discussion of the Maguire affair.
The expulsion of Harwin was due to the government’s failure to produce any paperwork to justify how $252m in grants were allocated. So far the government has produced a handful of emails from the premier’s staff directing how the grants should be madehanded out.
More than 90% of the money went to Coalition seats.
Austrac provides ‘information’ to police on Vatican funds transfer
At Senate Estimates on Tuesday afternoon Liberal senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells asked AUSTRAC about the “alleged transfer of 700,000 Euros from Vatican funds to person or persons in Australia” in connection with the Pell court matters.
Nicole Rose, AUSTRAC chief executive, replied:
“Yes I can confirm AUSTRAC has looked into the matter and we’ve provided information to the AFP and to Victoria Police.”
We’ve contacted Victoria Police and the AFP to ask if there are active investigations.
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: Brett Sutton to provide new statement to Covid hotel inquiry as federal parliament resumes – politics live | Australia news