News Politics Australian Politics AFP did not interview Sydney mayor over alleged forged travel documents

AFP did not interview Sydney mayor over alleged forged travel documents

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Energy Minister Angus Taylor used the forged document to attack Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore.
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Australian Federal Police did not interview Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore during an investigation into alleged doctored documents Energy Minister Angus Taylor used to attack her.

AFP Commissioner Reece Kershaw confirmed that Ms Moore was not spoken to before his officers abandoned their investigation into the falsified travel figures.

“The mayor was not interviewed,” Mr Kershaw told a Senate estimates hearing on Monday.

On February 19, Commissioner Kershaw confirmed Mr Taylor was also not interviewed, telling the National Press Club he was “not aware that the minister was interviewed, or even offered an interview”.

“We’ve been pretty clear in the decision-making process that we came to, not being able to substantiate any offences being committed,” he said.

On February 6, the AFP dropped its inquiry into the travel claims, saying it had found no evidence Mr Taylor was involved in falsifying information.

“The AFP assessment of this matter identified there is no evidence to indicate the Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction was involved in falsifying information,” an AFP spokesperson said at the time.

“The low level of harm and the apology made by the Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction to the Lord Mayor of Sydney, along with the significant level of resources required to investigate were also factored into the decision not to pursue this matter.

“The AFP now considers this matter finalised.”

Earlier on Monday, Labor senator Kristina Keneally repeatedly questioned why Ms Moore was not interviewed before the AFP decided the allegations presented a “low level of ongoing harm”.

“The lord mayor is the victim, if you will, in this circumstance,” Senator Keneally said.

“How do you make a determination of harm and a decision not to continue an investigation without speaking to the victim of the alleged crime?”

Mr Kershaw said the decision was objective and considered.

“That’s a matter again for the decision-makers and they have made that decision on the materials available to them at the time,” he said.

“That was what was referred to us by the NSW Police.”

The furore began after Mr Taylor wrote to Ms Moore on September 30, chastising the City of Sydney for “unnecessary air travel”.

His letter cited the council’s “most recent annual report”, which he said showed it had spent $1.7 million on international travel and $14.2 million on domestic travel.

But, Mr Taylor’s figures were wildly at odds with the council’s actual annual report for 2017/18, which listed domestic transport, accommodation and travelling expenses at $4206.32 and overseas travel at $1727.77.

The minister apologised to Ms Moore but has not said where the numbers came from.

On Monday, Greens senator Nick McKim asked whether the AFP had considered ringing Mr Taylor to ask whether he had forged the City of Sydney travel figures.

“Isn’t that the first thing you’d do?” Senator McKim said.

Mr Kershaw laughed off the question.

“No, we don’t operate like that,” the commissioner said.

-with AAP

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