– Tony Abbott faces calls for a police investigation into allegations he offered a posting to Queensland Liberal MP Alex Somlyay if he quit politics.
Warning the alleged offer in 2010 could be in breach of the Commonwealth Electoral Act, the Labor Party has now formally referred the allegations to the Australian Federal Police.
In a letter to AFP Commissioner Tony Negus, ALP assistant secretary Evan Moorhead has raised concerns the alleged offer could breach bribery provisions in the Act.
“Under section 326(2) of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918, it is a criminal offence to promise to provide a benefit to another person with the intention of affecting the person’s decision to stand as a candidate at an election,” Mr Moorhead wrote.
The Liberal leader has not explicitly denied discussing the option of appointing the Queensland MP to a foreign posting if he stepped aside to allow former Howard government minister Mal Brough to re-enter politics.
Instead, a spokesman for Mr Abbott said he would not comment on private conversations. Mr Somlyay has never publicly denied that Mr Abbott offered to find him a foreign posting if he stood aside.
A spokesman for Mr Abbott said: “This is just another stunt from a political party that isn’t focused on the issues Australian families are concerned about and who will stop at nothing in its attempt to cling to power.” – Samantha Maiden