Australian taxpayers paid $110,000 for federal ministers’ legal bills in last financial year

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Taxpayers person forked retired $110,000 for national ministers’ ineligible bills successful the past fiscal year, including $4,000 to support Scott Morrison against a 2020 defamation claim.

Documents tabled successful parliament connected Tuesday uncover taxpayers are connected the hook for a pipeline of imaginable caller cases, including erstwhile superannuation curate Jane Hume’s ineligible bills successful a defamation stoush with Simon Holmes à Court.

The connection of expenditure, tabled by lawyer wide Mark Dreyfus, reveals that the astir costly substance successful 2021-22 was $77,025 of ineligible assistance to Linda Reynolds “approved connected 30 April, 2021 successful narration to an Australian national constabulary investigation”.

Attorney general’s section officials confirmed successful Senate estimates this relates to the erstwhile Liberal staffer Brittany Higgins’ intersexual battle allegation against Bruce Lehrmann. Lehrmann is pleading not guilty. The lawsuit proceeds to proceedings successful October.

Reynolds besides received support for “a assertion filed against her connected 3 March, 2022” and connected 22 March 2022 to respond to a subpoena.

The documents uncover that connected 30 June 2020 ineligible assistance was approved for erstwhile premier curate Scott Morrison successful narration to a defamation assertion made against him connected 9 June 2020. Taxpayers were charged $4,122, though nary details are fixed astir the claim.

Regulations let the authorities to o.k. payer backing for ineligible assistance to ministers progressive successful proceedings oregon responding to subpoenas received successful the show of ministerial duties.

Hume received support connected 4 May 2022 for “a defamation claim” that the past lawyer general, Michaelia Cash, certified she was satisfied related to her ministerial duties.

On 14 May Holmes à Court publically confirmed helium had sent a defamation concerns announcement to Hume successful narration to “defamatory lies” she made successful an interrogation claiming helium had directed “teal” autarkic candidates not to disclose who they would ballot for successful a hung parliament.

Hume referred to the ineligible menace successful a fiery speech with the Climate 200 laminitis astatine polling booths aboriginal successful May.

“Just permission maine unsocial Simon delight permission maine alone,” she reportedly said. “You are suing maine for defamation Simon, I don’t privation to speech to you.”

Holmes à Court told Guardian Australia helium did not deliberation it “appropriate that the payer picks up work for hyper-partisan language, disconnected from a minister’s portfolio responsibility”.

A spokeswoman for Hume said the assistance provided was “consistent with the parliamentary concern resources regulations”.

Jonathon Duniam received assistance totalling $10,426 for 2 matters successful May 2021, which subordinate to apologies helium made to Bob Brown and Sarah Hanson-Young, for mendacious and defamatory comments claiming Hanson-Young’s niece was enactment successful harm’s mode astatine an anti-logging rally.

A further $17,950 was spent for Joe Ludwig, the erstwhile Labor agriculture minister, owed to long-running compensation claims for the suspension of the unrecorded cattle commercialized with Indonesia.

Karen Andrews, the erstwhile location affairs minister, received support for an exertion connected 4 March 2022.

On 10 January 2022, erstwhile concern curate Simon Birmingham approved backing for 2 abstracted claims against Cash.

Former wellness curate Greg Hunt received support connected 3 March 2022.

In July and August, Dreyfus approved ineligible assistance for Murray Watt, Barnaby Joyce and David Littleproud successful narration to the aforesaid assertion for damages relating to equine influenza programs.

Matt Keogh, Andrew Gee and Darren Chester person been approved for ineligible assistance successful narration to the royal committee into defence and seasoned suicide. Morrison besides received support for ineligible costs for that royal commission.

In 2021 Peter Dutton projected that politicians should beryllium eligible for nationalist backing to support defamation claims, but Labor changeable down the idea.

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