2014 – 2016
Liberal MP Tim Wilson provided direct assistance to the Institute of Public Affairs and solicited endorsement for his 2016 preselection battle while in the office of human rights commissioner, according to Guardian Australia.
The former human rights and disability discrimination commissioner Graeme Innes said the behaviour was clearly inappropriate and threatened the independence of the commission. “It is inappropriate to use the position as a statutory officer to advance your political career because you are an officer of the Commonwealth.
Guardian Australia reports on a trove of internal emails, which Wilson fought to keep from being released, that shows the Liberal MP for Goldstein used his official human rights commission email account to help arrange an international speaker for a major IPA event, organise his own attendance at functions for IPA donors, and ask for a political endorsement from someone who approached him in his capacity as human rights commissioner.
Wilson reportedly told the Guardian the emails were “utterly irrelevant” and a “non-story”, saying his support of the IPA was publicly disclosed and well known throughout his term.
He said he had done the honourable thing by resigning before seeking preselection to “protect the non-partisan standing of the office”. He confirmed he had gone to the information commissioner to try to prevent the release of the documents but had done so to ensure “the applicant thought there was something salacious in these emails only to be disappointed that they were utterly irrelevant and they’d wasted their time, and sadly that of the hard-working people at the Australian Human Rights Commission, who had to compile and redact these documents”.
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