Michael Sukkar
Michael Sukkar (Image: AAP/Mick Tsikas)

Assistant Treasurer and Housing Minister Michael Sukkar is using taxpayer funds to defend a defamation action. But we don’t know who is suing him, and why. 

In Senate estimates last night, Labor’s Murray Watt pointed to documents tabled in Parliament in late August revealing Attorney-General Michaelia Cash had approved taxpayer funding for Sukkar’s legal bills to fight a defamation claim made two weeks earlier. Under the relevant regulations, the attorney-general can approve taxpayer funding for a minister’s legal bills only where the litigation arose in relation to ministerial duties.

The document approves payment by the Commonwealth of the costs of legal representation, any damages awarded and any reasonable amount payable at settlement. In other words, anything.