The power minister, Angus Taylor, is making a distinction between “downloading” and “accessing” paperwork on a web site as his bungled assault on Sydney metropolis council eight months in the past continues to hassle him.
Via a spokesman he has rejected information stories he refused to be interviewed by police investigating the matter.
It’s understood Taylor supplied police with an announcement and answered questions in writing.
The controversy over his embarrassing misfire in trying to model the Sydney lord mayor, Clover Moore, a local weather change hypocrite has been revived by New South Wales police responses to questions taken on notice in the NSW parliament.
Final September, Taylor sent a letter to Clover Moore accusing her of hypocrisy for her council’s declaration of a “local weather emergency” whereas spreading emissions via in depth journey.
The letter, leaked by his office to the Daily Telegraph earlier than it reached Moore’s workplace, included a doc claiming to be from the council’s annual report reporting it had spent $15m on home and abroad journey. The precise determine was nearer to $6,000.
The doc despatched to the Day by day Telegraph is similar to the travel expenses pages of the council’s annual report but contains different dollar figures.
Police said no evidence was found to verify Taylor’s workplace had downloaded the doc containing the false figures from the council’s web site, or that the doc ever existed on the web site.
Taylor’s workplace argues this counters claims a doc was falsified within the minister’s workplace, as this might require it to be downloaded.
The defence can be seen as tech semantics however leaves little doubt Taylor is refusing to give up to allegations he launched a dodgy doc.
A spokesman for Taylor on Tuesday instructed Guardian Australia the police report supported the minister’s positions.
“We’ve at all times maintained that the report (from the council web site) wasn’t downloaded,” mentioned the spokesman.
“As per minister Taylor’s assertion on October 25 the report was accessed from the Metropolis of Sydney’s web site and printed instantly from the location which proof supplied by the division (of power) in response to questions on discover helps.
“The NSW police are solely confirming what we now have mentioned all alongside.”
However the Metropolis of Sydney web site itself refers to hyperlinks of the annual report file as a “obtain”.
Expertise reporters have identified that whereas technically Taylor’s workers might not have right-clicked and saved the file, the council’s web site would have nonetheless recorded the entry of the doc as a obtain.
In response to questions from the Labor MP Rose Jackson throughout NSW finances estimates, the NSW police commissioner, Mick Fuller, has mentioned: “The metadata didn’t present any proof of the doc being downloaded to Minister Taylor’s workplace.”
Fuller additionally mentioned there was no proof the doc despatched by Taylor’s workplace ever existed on the web site.
The federal shadow finance minister, Katy Gallagher, mentioned the massive significance of coping with the coronavirus pandemic didn’t excuse Taylor.
“Angus Taylor ought to at the moment come and clarify the place that doc got here from,” Gallagher instructed reporters on Tuesday.
“That’s the solely excellent query of precedence. And if he can’t reply it, the prime minister ought to.”
Gallagher mentioned the Covid-19 response was “at the beginning in our considering”.
“However these ministers shouldn’t suppose that they’re going to simply stroll away. We are going to proceed to carry them to account and the prime minister must be doing it as effectively,” she mentioned.