Saturday, April 26, 2014

Joe Hockey declares wife's company directorship 14 years after the appointment

Shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey with his wife Melissa Babbage.
Shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey with his wife Melissa Babbage. Source: News Limited
 
ASPIRING treasurer Joe Hockey has been caught breaching parliamentary rules after failing to declare a family interest for almost his entire 17-year career in federal parliament. 

Mr Hockey declared the directorship of Steel Harbour Pty Ltd held by his wife, Melissa Babbage, in May last year among a series of "new positions" under spouse declaration rules.

But business records show Ms Babbage was appointed to the role in 1998.

Pecuniary interest register declarations are supposed to be made within a month.

The revelations come after News Corp Australia revealed earlier this year Arthur Sinodinos, tipped to be Mr Hockey's right-hand man as finance minister in an Abbott government, failed to declare six company directorships in his first year in the upper house.

National Press Club
Shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey registered his wife Melissa’s 14-year-old directorship as soon as be became “aware”. Picture Ray Strang Source: News Limited
 
The directorship blunder has emerged ahead of a key economic debate showdown between Mr Hockey and Treasurer Chris Bowen at the National Press Club in Canberra on Wednesday.

Mr Hockey yesterday suggested he was clueless about his wife's business interests for 14 years and would not explain what the company did.

He insisted that his register was now fine and that he was the victim of a Labor Party smear campaign.

"As I become aware of my wife's commercial interests I declare them, as is appropriate," Mr Hockey said.

"My pecuniary interest register is entirely in order."

A spokesman for Special Minister of State Mark Dreyfus said: "The long-standing practice of parliamentarians' declarations of interests is an important element of our transparent democratic process."

Shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey’s wife Melissa holds a number of company directorships. Picture: Ray Strange Source: News Limited

 Shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey's wife Melissa holds a number of company directorships. Picture: Ray Strange
 
Documents filed with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission show Mrs Babbage was appointed as a director of Steel Harbour Pty Ltd on April 2, 1998.

Her directorship includes the three years Mr Hockey was a member of the Howard ministry from 2004 to 2007 and spans more than some of the long careers of Mr Hockey's colleagues.

Mr Hockey was elected as the member for North Sydney in 1996.

But Mr Hockey's register of pecuniary interests shows he only put the interest on the public record on May 29 last year.

 Joe Hockey with his wife Melissa and children Xavier and Adelaide after the birth of Ignatius in 2009. Picture: Paul Melville
The move came as Mrs Babbage added a string of other directorships to her swag of corporate roles, including with Athletics Australia, the Australian Athletics Federation and Host City Marathon.

Mr Hockey said: "The Labor Party has previously engaged in this type of muckraking and then been forced to correct such unsubstantiated assertions. It is a desperate action from a desperate government."
MPs can be referred to a privileges committee inquiry over omissions with the interests register.

Punishments for knowingly providing incorrect information to parliament can include jail or fines.

Joe Hockey with his wife Melissa and children Xavier and Adelaide after the birth of Ignatius in 2009. Picture: Paul Melville Source: News Limited

courier.com.au  27 aug 2013

After providing false information to parliament, this person cannot and should not be in charge of ANY portfolio.

It is great to see a wife supporting a corporate fraudster.

Australia the 'lucky' country, if you're part of the criminal elite.

Another 'Money for Mates' fraud supported by the Australian authorities.
 

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