Western Australian Labor and bent business dealings … memories, memories.
While it hasn’t been getting much press east of the Nullarbor, former sports and recreation minister Bob Kucera had to walk the plank last weekafter revelations that his wife made a profit from shareholdings following a Cabinet decision to pay gas supplier Alinta an $88 million sweetener for buying the Dampier to Bunbury pipeline.
Since then, the affair has widened to ensnare two more ministers in the Gallop Government, Planning Minister Alannah MacTiernan and Justice Minister John D’Orazio.
The West Australian reports that MacTiernan’s husband, industrial relations lawyer Derek Schapper, held shares in Alinta when the Minister attended a Cabinet meeting on August 5 which discussed tenders for the sale of the Dampier to Bunbury gas pipeline. The paper also says D’Orazio’s wife held shares in Alcoa parent company Alumina Ltd when Cabinet agreed to enter into negotiations on a variation of Alcoa’s State agreement.
According to the ABC, Gallop says MacTiernan did not declare a conflict of interest because she did not know her husband held the shares, and that her husband contacted the cabinet secretary himself, informing him of his share portfolio.
Opposition Leader Matt Birney has let D’Orazio off the hook, conceding that the Justice Minister could not be expected to know the ownership structure of the companies involved in the Alcoa deal, but is calling on Dr Gallop to sack MacTiernan.
Birney says there is “no difference between her conflict of interest and that of Mr Kucera, who was forced to resign when it was revealed that his wife Susan held Alinta shares at the time of the Cabinet discussions on the gas pipeline,” according to the West.