The Greens say the Prime Minister should dump Christian Porter from his Ministry, and that the so-called "investigation" into whether the secret donation is a breach of Ministerial Standards is yet another delaying tactic from a government allergic to transparency and accountability.
Greens deputy leader and spokesperson on democracy Senator Larissa Waters said:
"It’s patently obvious that Christian Porter has breached the PM's own Ministerial Standards, and punting it to Gaetjens is clearly a delaying tactic, given his form.
"The Prime Minister’s Ministerial Standards prevent a Minister from seeking or encouraging gifts in their personal capacity and note the need for declaration and transparency. It is not acceptable for a Cabinet Minister to accept money without having to declare how much it was and who it was from.
"The PM should stop protecting his mates and simply dump Porter from the Ministry. If he doesn't do that, Greens leader Adam Bandt will move a motion of no confidence in Minister Porter when parliament resumes, and I will do the same in the form of a censure motion in the Senate.
“We also need to know who set up this blind trust, who contributed to it and how much was given. That's why the Greens will use all parliamentary levers available to try to bring the transparency and integrity that is lacking in this faux disclosure.
"Yesterday I wrote to the Secretary of the Attorney-General’s Department, seeking an investigation into whether the failure to disclose the source of the funds is in breach of the Foreign Influence Transparency Scheme Act 2018. If it is not a formal breach, but there is any concern of possible influence, I have asked the Secretary to refer the matter to the Standing Committee of Privileges and Members’ Interests.
“I have also asked the Chair of the Standing Committee of Privileges and Members’ Interests whether that Committee can compel Minister Porter to disclose the identity and amounts of donors. If the answer is as I fear – that the rules don’t require that – Adam Bandt and I will move for changes to the Register of Interests rules in both chambers to ensure that ‘blind trusts’ cannot be used to obscure the identity of donors.
“This government has no regard for parliamentary standards and no care for the damage it’s doing to public confidence in our democracy.
“The hypocrisy is shocking, when Liberal backbenchers have been on the attack against charities, NGOs and Voices for Independents campaigns claiming public interest in greater transparency.
“This whole sorry saga is yet more proof that we need a federal corruption watchdog and much stronger donations caps and disclosure limits.”