More mentions of David Flint at Senate Estimates

As well as his starring role in the ABA Senate Estimates Hearing last week, ABA Chairman David Flint was also mentioned in the Finance and Public Administration Senate Estimates – twice.

One mention was in passing in relation to his role in the ABA, while another related to a complaint about his role as a Liberal Party pre-selector, where there was no offence found.

This exchange took place between Senator Faulkner and Deputy Electoral Commissioner Paul Dacey:

Senator FAULKNER- … Could I also ask whether the AEC has received any complaints alleging a breach of the section 326 bribery provisions in relation to Professor Flint?

Mr Dacey—Yes, we have.

Senator FAULKNER—Could you detail those for the benefit of the committee?

Mr Dacey—We have a complaint in relation to a possible offence under 326 in relation to that affair.

We have now considered that complaint, and we advised the complainant today that the AEC’s view, on advice from DPP, is that there is no offence disclosed.

Senator FAULKNER—So that matter has now been concluded as far as the AEC is concerned.

Mr Dacey—That is correct. On the information that we were provided by the complainant, that matter has been concluded.

Senator FAULKNER—So you did have a complaint lodged with you. I do not think I need to ask who the complainant was; I will not ask who the complainant was. As a result of that complaint being lodged, you sought advice from the DPP, did you?

Mr Dacey—We did.

Senator FAULKNER—Is that standard operating procedure for you?

Mr Dacey—Unless we have sufficient precedent or previous advisings but, in those sorts of cases—
particularly in relation to 326, where there is certainly a dearth of precedent—it is our usual practice to consult
with DPP.

Senator FAULKNER—Are you able to indicate briefly what the nature of the complaint was? I do not
want to go to the complainant, but we know it is under section 326. They are the bribery provisions. That is
right, isn’t it?

Mr Dacey—They are, Senator. I would rather not go into the detail of the nature of the complaints. I would
rather that be between the complainant and us at this stage.

Senator FAULKNER—All right. I suppose it is something that we can revisit at a later stage. Can you
indicate to us when the complaint was lodged?

Mr Dacey—Off the top of my head, no.

Senator FAULKNER—I assumed it was sometime after all the publicity.

Mr Dacey—It was a couple of weeks ago. Off the top of my head, I cannot give you the exact date.

Senator FAULKNER—You seem to have dealt with this matter pretty quickly.

Mr Dacey—We try as best we can. Certainly, as we head into an election and we get more of these sorts of
complaints under 326, 328 and 329, we have arrangements with DPP where, if we need to consult with them,
we turn them around as fast as we can.

Senator FAULKNER—Did you seek any other advices before referring this to the DPP?

Mr Dacey—This particular matter?

Senator FAULKNER—Yes.

Mr Dacey—No we did not. We only looked at what we have on record internally in relation to similar


In relation to public administration at the ABA, this exchange took place during a discussion on a report on administrative procedures of public bodies:

Senator CONROY—Do you think Mr Uhrig should have addressed the sorts of issues that have come up
with regard to the behaviour of Professor Flint? It is a paper about corporate governance and governance
matters, so do you think there are issues in there that are relevant to Professor Flint’s behaviour at the ABA?

Senator Minchin—I obviously cannot go into too much detail. You know the terms of reference of the
Uhrig review; I think they were published. The scope of the review was not so much to look at individual
authorities as such, but the general framework.

Senator CONROY—It was a framework for all of them to look at adopting.

Senator Minchin—That is right. It was not a matter of drilling down into each particular authority.
Therefore, it would not be appropriate for me to remark upon a question of the ABA.

Senator CONROY—Even the Prime Minister would not back up Professor Flint yesterday.

Senator Minchin—I did not watch question time. It is not appropriate to comment on individual agencies…