Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Brough Finally Steps Aside; Turnbull Government Loses Two Ministers in a Day to Scandal

Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Brough Finally Steps Aside; Turnbull Government Loses Two Ministers in a Day to Scandal

Article excerpt

BILL HOFFMAN

bill.hoffman@scnews.com.au

MAL Brough has stood down as Special Minister of State and Minister for Defence Material and Science pending the completion of Australian Federal Police inquiries into the Ashbygate Affair.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced the move at the same time he revealed Minister for Cities and Built Environment Jamie Briggs had resigned following a late night incident in a Hong Kong bar involving a female public servant during an official overseas visit.

The moves have sparked calls from Fairfax MP Clive Palmer to get the focus off trivia and back on policy.

"What happens to Mal Brough or Jamie Briggs is by the by," Mr Palmer said.

"My concern is about the government and what it is delivering. Cancer sufferers in Nambour and Maroochydore will be paying more for their treatment. It's not about Clive Palmer or Malcolm Turnbull. It's about why the government enacts the policies it does while it says we are in a strong position as a country."

Mr Palmer said as minister for integrity in government it was important Mr Brough set an example.

"If he's done nothing wrong he can come back," he said. "The fact he is a minister, there has been a warrant issued, a police raid on his home and he admitted on air he was guilty all indicate he should stand aside."

Mr Brough's Alexandra Headland home was the subject of an AFP raid in mid November seeking evidence in relation to allegations he had procured James Ashby to secure notes from former Speaker Peter Slipper's diary. At the time Ashby was a public servant employed in Mr Slipper's office.

The November raid made Mr Brough the Opposition's focus during the last week of Parliament forcing Mr Turnbull to defend him.

On December 3 Labor MP Jason Clare compared Mr Brough's deteriorating position to that of former speaker Bronwyn Bishop, saying it took former Prime Minister Tony Abbott 32 days to remove her following the helicopter scandal.

"It's now 16 days since Mal Brough's home was raided by the federal police," Mr Clare said. "Tick, tick, tick. How long is it going to take Malcolm Turnbull to sack Mal Brough? …

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