NSW police minister Carl Scully was pushed last week – not for the way he administered his portfolio, but for the way he used words in the Parliament. This week’s embattled state frontbencher, WA Education and Training Minister Ljiljanna Ravlich, might like to pay close attention.

Ravlich, like Scully, is accused of misleading parliament. Ravlich has been asked if she authorised payments to the CFMEU. She has replied no – although she has earlier told parliament the union has been funded.

While ordinary punters might find some incongruity between these answers, lawyers, politicians and journalists know the devil is in the detail.

It has emerged that her Department made the payments with no need for the minister’s authorisation. So she was right both times. She hadn’t authorised the payments but the payments had been made.

Ravlich may well have known about the payment. She may well have given a sly nod and wink. But she answered the question – on the available evidence – honestly. At this stage the only thing she can be accused of with this issue is being a clever clogs.

Ravlich is playing cute with words – but the opposition is asking sloppy questions.

Peter Fray

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