New Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack is facing questions over an apparent failure to fully report an investment property he owns.
- Not declaring income can be a breach of ministerial standards
- Mr McCormack updated his disclosures the day Barnaby Joyce resigned
- Rules say any changes to interests must be declared within 28 days
Mr McCormack, who was confirmed as the new leader of the Nationals yesterday, may have failed to declare income from the Melbourne property within the timeframe required by the Parliament Register of Interests.
Such non-disclosure can constitute a breach, which would place him in “serious contempt of the House of Representatives” and trigger a breach of the ministerial standards.
At the time, Mr McCormack was Minister for Veterans Affairs. He was sworn in on Monday as Minister for Infrastructure.
The revelation follows the resignation of former deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce following two investigations into his use of government entitlements, one of which is ongoing.
Mr McCormack first disclosed the property in September 2016, labelling it an “investment”.
Last Friday — the day Mr Joyce indicated he would step down as Nationals leader — Mr McCormack updated his disclosures to include “Income/Rent on investment property (Melbourne) for wife and I”.
The resolution agreed to by the House of Representatives requires MPs to disclose any alteration of their interests to the register within 28 days of that alteration occurring.
Mr McCormack’s office confirmed to the ABC that he had first started receiving income on the property “in the last six months”.
The ABC has sought comment from the Minister.
Mr McCormack’s register appears to declare two listings of investment properties in Melbourne, one as part of his initial disclosures and one as an alteration. However the ABC has confirmed that he only owns one.
His Nationals colleague, Senator Matt Canavan, was caught out failing to declare the purchase of his family home at Barmaryee, north-east of Rockhampton last week.
Mr McCormack has disclosed various gifts within the required timeframe in the past year, including the following hospitality:
- Country Championships at Randwick racecourse (provided by Tabcorp);
- AFL grand final (NAB);
- Melbourne Cup (Tabcorp);
- Derby Day (IAG);
- Ashes cricket (Cricket Australia and Channel Nine); and
- The Australian Open (Optus).