WA Labor MP Kate Doust accuses attorney-general John Quigley of meddling in corruption probe

Michael RamseyAAP
Kate Doust was dumped from her role as Legislative Council president after WA's March election.
Camera IconKate Doust was dumped from her role as Legislative Council president after WA's March election. Credit: AAP

Western Australia’s attorney-general has been accused by a Labor colleague of intervening in a corruption investigation involving a laptop seized from a disgraced MP.

Senior Labor MP Kate Doust has used her final day as Legislative Council president to shed light on the simmering feud between the Corruption and Crime Commission (CCC) and her powerful Procedures and Privileges Committee (PPC).

The CCC in 2019 seized a parliamentary laptop and two hard drives belonging to disgraced former Liberal MP Phil Edman.

They were subsequently obtained by the PPC on the basis that material on the devices may be subject to parliamentary privilege.

Attorney-General John Quigley launched legal proceedings, claiming the PPC had overstepped its powers in withholding key documents.

WA Attorney-General John Quigley.
Camera IconWA Attorney-General John Quigley. Credit: AAP

Ms Doust this week tabled a report in parliament outlining the committee’s interactions with the CCC.

She alleged the committee had been negotiating with the CCC to provide access to the material when former CCC commissioner John McKechnie suddenly “reneged” and began separate negotiations with the attorney-general.

“It is the PPC’s view that at the heart of this matter is an entirely inexplicable sudden cessation of good faith negotiations between the PPC and the Commissioner of the CCC,” she said.

“This coincided with the bald usurpation of the powers and privileges of the Legislative Council through the calculated intervention of the Attorney-General and State Solicitor’s Office, to the potentially unlawful benefit of the CCC.”

Mr Quigley has denied compromising the integrity of the CCC or undermining the rights of the upper house.

Asked about Ms Doust’s report, Premier Mark McGowan dismissed its findings as “wrong” and said he made no apologies for fighting corruption.

A 2019 CCC investigation revealed Mr Edman had used his electorate allowance for acting as a “sugar daddy” to women he met online, visiting strip clubs and paying speeding fines.

After the CCC raided his premises, Mr Edman got a former MP and a party official to warn various sitting members that a seized laptop contained damaging material.

“It’s got everything, all the emails between all of us, Black Hand Gang dinners, it’s got the video, there’s enough stuff on that f***ing computer to bury f***ing a lot of people,” he said to the former MP.

Ms Doust insisted the dispute was not about hiding Mr Edman’s “dirt file” from examination by law enforcement.

The veteran MP, who is married to cabinet minister Bill Johnston, was dumped from the upper house presidency after the March election.

She and the CCC last month faced a two-day trial in the Supreme Court in regards to the laptop.

Justice Stephen Hall has reserved his decision.

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