Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton has failed to declare a million-dollar property his family owns in Townsville, in a blunder his office is blaming on simple human error.
The breach of the rules is regarded as a potential “serious contempt” of Parliament.
In his official declaration to parliament, the Queensland MP has listed a number of properties that form part of his family’s $5 million investment portfolio.
They include properties co-owned with his wife Kirilly, a Queensland businesswoman, including a luxury Palm Beach, Queensland weekender.
But missing in the new declaration is a Townsville property his family has owned for years.
Mr Dutton has previously declared that RHT INVESTMENTS (QLD) PTY LTD owned property in Townsville.
The retail investment property includes three shops and was purchased in September 2016 for $760,000.
The only director, secretary and shareholder of this company is his wife, Kirilly.
A search of the Queensland land titles office today confirms RHT INVESTMENTS (QLD) PTY LTD still owns the Townsville property.
However, in the latest declaration he does not declare this property under the spouse section or subsequent updates on his register of interests.
When news.com.au contacted Mr Dutton’s office for comment on the oversight, a spokeswoman explained it was an error and he now intends to update the register as soon as possible.
In 2016, Labor frontbencher David Feeney was accused of a “serious contempt” of the parliament for failing to declare a $2.3 billion investment property in Melbourne.
The political car crash that followed prompted former Labor leader Bill Shorten to send Mr Feeney to the backbench after the election. He later resigned from Parliament over the citizenship fiasco.
Under parliamentary rules Mr Dutton is required to declare all registrable interests.
It clearly states MPs “shall include the registrable interests of which the Member is aware (1) of the Member’s spouse/partner and (2) of any children who are wholly or mainly dependent on the Member for support, and shall cover the following matters:
(c) real estate, including the location (suburb or area only) and the purpose for which it is owned;
(d) registered directorships of companies.”
MPs must also declare any rental income they get, under the rules which require transparency on the “nature of any other substantial sources of income”.
Failure to do so mean an MP “shall be guilty of a serious contempt of the House of Representatives and shall be dealt with by the House accordingly.”
There has been previous speculation that site could be used for a new childcare centre.
Meanwhile, Mr Dutton appeared on Today on Friday morning to comment on someone he believed was “unfit” for her particular public service position.
He joined calls for Victoria’s Deputy Chief Health Officer to resign after she compared Captain Cook to the coronavirus on the anniversary of his arrival into Botany Bay.
Sudden arrival of an invader from another land, decimating populations, creating terror. Forces the population to make enormous sacrifices & completely change how they live in order to survive. COVID19 or Cook 1770?
— Dr Annaliese van Diemen (@annaliesevd) April 29, 2020
“I think she should go,” he said.
“I think it’s pretty obvious in the middle of a pandemic the second highest medical officer in the state of Victoria should be concentrating on the people of Victoria and the crisis associated with COVID-19.
“Instead she is off running culture war debates. I think she is unfit for that office and she should go.”
Mr Dutton was diagnosed with COVID-19 in mid-March, just days after he met with Ivanka Trump and multiple high-ranking officials in the US.
He spent 25 days in isolation recovering from the infection.