Wilson Tuckey will not face travel rorts charges but the internecine warfare amongst WA Libs continues unabated amidst heavy legged legal threats against Crikey by the Lightfoots.
Tuckey cleared but warfare amongst WA Libs continues
The announcement that the Director of Public Prosecutions has advised the Australian Federal Police that the investigation into Wilson’s Tuckey’s use of charter aircraft not further proceed, has caused an interesting response from some members of the AFP.
The DPP has concluded that there is insufficient evidence to establish the commission of a criminal offence by any party and that any further investigations would not bear any further fruit.
The convention in matters of police inquiries into the conduct of Ministers is that all documents are tabled in the House of Representatives. No doubt the documentation will reveal what evidence has been deemed to be insufficient and what further investigations would not have borne fruit.
In the meantime we can be sure that Senator Lightfoot and his wife will have danced a little jig on hearing that Tuckey was not to be charged. It was as a result of travel documents obtained by Lightfoot which came from the office of his colleague, Western Australian Senator, Winston Crane, that the Tuckey police inquiry began.
Whatever his colleagues may think of Tuckey, and some will have privately cheered at Tuckey’s discomfort, most will ostracise Lightfoot in Canberra for what they believe to be an act of bastardry. For the same reasons, Lightfoot had better hope that Crane is not charged.
Lightfoot’s release of the Crane travel documents was intended to disclose Crane’s alleged charter travel arrangements and it was in the course of these investigations that the AFP discovered that Tuckey had also availed himself of a frequent flyer loyalty scheme. Hence the police investigation into Tuckey.
It has been widely known for years among Western Australian federal parliamentarians that both Crane and Tuckey use the same charter company and that both are part of a most unusual frequent flyer scheme.
It is significant that the Crane investigation began well before that of the Tuckey investigation, however the Tuckey matter was ultimately dealt within a time of convenience to the Prime Minister while the Crane matter continues to meander on.
It may well be asked whether the Crane investigation would have been concluded by now were Crane waiting to be sworn in as a Minister.
In the meantime, Senator Abetz and his department must now know of the full details of the frequent flyer scheme which has until now been used by both Crane and Tuckey.
Presumably the Government will promptly announce whether this particular scheme is acceptable and whether taxpayers will continue to provide to members of parliament, the benefits which it offers.
As is the bizarre and debased nature of Liberal politics in Western Australia, a number of Tuckey’s other colleagues had a personal interest in the fate of the Tuckey police investigation.
Tuckey has for very good reason developed a very strong personal dislike for Senator Ian Campbell in particular during his tribulations and has muttered all kinds of misfortunes for him when this “is all over”.
Campbell and his mate, Senator Chris Ellison both claim that Tuckey is a totally unsuitable choice of Minister and that he should never have been reappointed. Their unanimous choice for the position, not surprisingly, was Senator Campbell.
The fact that Campbell has been passed over for the Ministry a record number of times, which is now a matter of sniggering and great mirth amongst his colleagues, does not seem to have dampened Campbell’s view of himself.
Campbell like Julie Bishop now subscribes to the conspiracy theory that his circumstances are all due to horrible little Johnny and come the revolution Costello will acknowledge his talent.
Western Australian Liberal Senator elect and past State President, David Johnston is another who has had good reason to follow the course of Tuckey’s fate with more than a passing interest. It was to Johnston that Lightfoot passed on copies of the stolen Crane travel documents.
Johnston has Campbell more than anybody to thank for dumping Crane from the Liberal Senate ticket and for replacing him with Johnston. Tuckey supported Crane. There is no doubt who Johnston would prefer to see as Minister.
Tuckey’s invitation list for his celebration will have been very short on Western Australian federal members, as were telephone calls of support from them over the past weeks.
Since publishing this article Crikey has received a most stern legal threat from Senator and Mrs Lightfoot’s lawyer, none other than ex Western Australian state polly, Chris Baker MLA, who lost his assembley seat of Joondalup at the last election.
Mr Baker claims that Crikey has alleged that Senator Ross Lightfoot and or his wife, stole documents from or via the electorate office of senator Winston Crane and that these documents had subsequently been used to raise allegations regarding the travel rorts affair involving Senator Winston Crane and Mr Wilson Tuckey, MHR.
Mr Baker states the purpose of his writing to Crikey is to advise that each and every allegation contained in the text of the article in that regard is utterly false, without foundations and is denied by Senator Lightfoot.
Crikey took great care to ensure that no improper or uninvited inference could be drawn that either Senator Lightfoot or his wife stole the documents from Senator Crane’s office.
Crikey makes no such allegation or inference and never has.
To that extent Crikey did not refer in particular in this article to the fact that Mrs Lightfoot previously worked in Senator Crane’s office and left in very unhappy circumstances because we did not want any inference to be drawn from this observation.
Senator Lightfoot can resolve the mystery of how he came into the possession of documents stolen from Senator Crane’s office by disclosing his source. Crikey’s betting is that Senator Lightfoot will claim that they came to him in an unmarked and anonymous envelope.
Senator Lightfoot could also do Crikey’s readers, his federal colleagues, Senator Crane and Mr Tuckey, the favour of telling them to whom, other than Mr David Johnson, he showed the documents or to whom he disclosed their contents.
In summary, Crikey stands by its article.
Crikey hopes that as a one term member Chris Baker, who was not around long enough to collect a super payout, is not doing this job for Lightfoot or his wife pro bono.
Lightfoot afterall left the WA state parliament with a $500,000 golden handshake.
Besides his nice little earner as a Senator, Ross has both his wife and daughter on the public payroll in his electorate office.