Energy Minister inquiry looms
The Federal Energy Minister could face a formal inquiry into alleged backroom meetings.
The Government is doing its utmost to prevent an investigation into meetings between Energy Minister Angus Taylor and the environment department.
Mr Taylor is being pursued over his interest in a family company linked to an investigation into alleged illegal land clearing.
The claims centre on alleged 2017 meetings with environment department officials and the office of then-environment minister Josh Frydenberg to discuss the grasslands' listing as endangered.
The meetings came at the same time as investigations into the alleged poisoning of 30 hectares that contained the grassland on a NSW property owned by Jam Land Pty Ltd.
Mr Taylor's brother Richard is one of Jam Land's directors, and his family investment company, Gufee, is a shareholder.
The minister insists he was representing farmers in his electorate of Hume and the neighbouring seat of Eden-Monaro, and that he made no representations to federal or state officials about the illegal land-clearing investigation.
A Labor motion for an inquiry into the matter was defeated last week after crossbenchers voted against it.
However, now that the land-clearing controversy known as “grassgate” has grown, Senator Rex Patrick from Centre Alliance has changed his mind.
“I'm now satisfied there is a prima facie case that the minister has made representations when there was a personal interest involved,” he told reporters in Adelaide on Sunday.