Labor accuses Federal Government of misleading Parliament over Man Haron Monis letter, calls on Prime Minister to ‘come clean’
The Federal Opposition is increasing its attack on the Government over a letter from Sydney siege gunman Man Haron Monis, accusing it of misleading Parliament before attempting a cover-up.
Monis wrote to the Attorney-General in October last year asking whether it was legal to contact the leader of the Islamic State militant group.
The letter did not trigger alarm bells, and a routine departmental reply was sent to Monis before he staged December’s Sydney siege, in which two people were killed.
Tuesday, October 7, 2014:– Man Haron Monis writes to Attorney-General George Brandis.
Monday, December 15, 2014: The day of the Lindt Cafe siege in Sydney.
Wednesday, May 27, 2015: Attorney-General department deputy secretary Katherine Jones tells Senate Estimates Monis’s letter was given to inquiry.
Thursday, May 28, 2015: Senator Brandis and Foreign Minister Julie Bishop tell Parliament letter was provided to inquiry.
Monday, June 1, 2015: Senator Brandis says A-G’s department tells him initial advice was wrong. Senator Brandis orders internal review.
Thursday, June 4, 2015: Ms Jones wrote to Senate Committee to correct the record. Senator Brandis and Ms Bishop correct the record in the House of Representatives and the Senate.
On May 28, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop told Parliament the letter was provided to a review of the siege — before correcting the record a week later.
New documents reveal the Prime Minister’s office knew the evidence to Parliament was incorrect three days before the Government owned up to the error.
“There has been a misleading of the Parliament and a cover-up about that misleading,” Labor spokeswoman Penny Wong said.
“We know from these documents that the PM’s own office knew that Julie Bishop had misled the Parliament before Question Time on Monday 1 June. But nothing was done about it.
“Misleading the Parliament is a serious offence. Ministers who deliberately mislead the Parliament should resign and have resigned.
“The PM needs to come clean on the cover-up.”
The Government’s initial, incorrect statements about providing the letter to the inquiry reduced scrutiny it faced in Question Time about the matter.
The Government has been contacted for comment.
- George Brandis asked why letter from Man Haron Monis did not trigger alarm bells
- Man Haron Monis’ letter to George Brandis was not provided to Sydney siege inquest
- Questions raised after revelation government official gave false evidence to committee
- Abbott defends Government handling of Sydney siege gunman letter
- Monis letter not included in siege review because of spreadsheet error