Transcript: Doorstop February 20
11.15am | February 20, 2019
SENATOR JENNY MCALLISTER
SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR FAMILIES AND COMMUNITIES
SENATOR FOR NEW SOUTH WALES
PARLIAMENT HOUSE, CANBERRA
THURSDAY, 20 FEBRUARY 2019
SUBJECTS: Senator Cormann and Ambassador Hockey relationship with Helloworld travel.
JENNY MCALLISTER, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR FAMILIES AND COMMUNITIES: Well it's another morning and it's another revelation about the company "Helloworld". This is the travel company that receives billions of dollars in Government contracts. The Fairfax newspapers today are reporting the following fact set:
That Mr Hockey, our Ambassador to the United States used his position to organise a meeting between this company and embassy staff in relation to embassy travel.
This is a company in which Mr Hockey is one of the top 20 shareholders.
Now I don't know if that fact set is true or not, but it raises serious concerns about the process by which senior members of this Government use their positions in relation to businesses in which they have an interest.
These are questions that ought to be answered comprehensively tomorrow when the Department of Foreign Affairs comes before the Senate Estimates Committee and it's worth putting it in context because we spent some time yesterday talking about Minister Cormann's relationship with this same company and what we learnt was that Minister Cormann has the CEO of this company on speed dial.
The CEO don't forget, is the Federal Treasurer of the Liberal Party and when you and I go out to make travel arrangements for our family, we get on to the 1800 number, we get on to the website. That's not what Minister Cormann is up to. Minister Cormann calls the CEO of a travel company with billions of dollars of Government contracts and makes a personal request for his travel to be booked.
Conveniently last year, that travel was never actually charged to the Minister's credit card and yesterday he said that that was merely a mistake. Well, I think people out there looking at this won't understand that explanation. I think they will look at it and fail to understand how a person could not notice that $2,700 for their travel just hadn't been charged to their credit card. And I think businesses looking at this will look at those facts and say to themselves, how could I possibly compete? What message does it send to other businesses seeking to do business with this Government, when they see the very cosy set of relationships that exist between this one company and very senior members of the Liberal administration?
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