The WA Parliament has turned over half a million documents from an MP’s computer hard drives to the corruption watchdog as part of an investigation into the potential for misconduct.
- CCC investigating abuse of election allowances
- He exposed a former MP’s spending on sex trips and strippers
- Parliament retained 10,000 articles subject to parliamentary privilege
The Commission Against Corruption and Crime (CCC) seized former Liberal MP Phil Edman’s laptop and two hard drives in 2019 after issuing a damning report on his misuse of parliamentary spending, which included travel to sex and stripper payment.
The report revealed that he had also used public money to pay for the mooring costs of his yacht, dubbed “The Prime Minister”.
The CCC was ordered to return the laptop, and a Supreme Court then considered whether Mr. Edman’s laptop was protected by parliamentary privilege.
He ruled that the decision to release the material could only be made by Parliament.
WA Upper House Speaker Alanna Clohesy told parliament on Tuesday that more than half a million items had been turned over to the watchdog.
“The Procedures and Privileges Committee was able to facilitate, with the assistance of the Commission’s digital forensic staff, the production to the Commission in an acceptable format, electronic copies of over 500,000 non-privileged items. “
She said another 10,000 people were isolated and considered to have privileges, so they were not released.
CCC commissioner John McKechnie said in September that the commission was told there was 150 GB of deleted data on the laptop.
Enough material ‘to bury people’
The 2019 CCC report on the misuse of MPs election allowances included a communication between Mr. Edman and a then-serving MP in August 2019:
But I just wanted to send a warning to (name redacted) that they have the MP, my MP computer… that stores everything, it has everything, all the emails between all of us, the Black Hand Gang dinners, it has the video …
He also messaged a businessman the following month:
And there’s enough stuff on that fucking computer to bury a lot of people and ruin their political careers forever… There are videos and pictures and lots of cute little collections that I have there.
Mr. Edman quit the Liberal Party just hours after the report was released, after then-leader Liza Harvey began the process of his expulsion.
At the time, Commissioner McKechnie said parliamentary allowances posed a serious misconduct risk, worth $ 7.4 million per year.
Following the Supreme Court ruling, Mr McKechnie said the commission’s investigation into the serious misconduct allegations was hampered without access to unprivileged material on Mr Edman’s laptop and his two HDDs.