- WA’s Corruption and Crime Commission (CCC) has uncovered the extensive misuse of electoral allowances by two former Liberals MPs
- Brian Ellis and Nigel Hallett spent public funds on fine dining, strip clubs, concert tickets, and other private lifestyle expenses
- Nigel also paid his lover an employee’s wage with pay rises, when she did not work for him
- The CCC’s inquiry was prompted by a previous investigation into WA Liberal MP Phil Edman, who also misused electoral allowances
- The investigations are still ongoing but will eventually be referred to the appropriate authorities for prosecution
WA’s Corruption and Crime Commission (CCC) has uncovered the extensive misuse of electoral allowances by two former Liberals MPs.
Brian Ellis and Nigel Hallett were both members of Western Australian Legislative Council from the mid-2000’s to 2017. The state’s corruption watchdog has found that Brian and Nigel spent considerable amounts of public funds on a variety of private lifestyle expenses.
The electoral allowances were spent on fine dining at high-end restaurants, visits to strip clubs, concert tickets, and other activities.
Over a four-year period, Nigel reportedly spent over $51,000 of taxpayers’ money on meals. In April 2016, Brian used his electorate allowance credit card to spend $1,995 at the Penthouse Club in Northbridge.
In addition to this misappropriation of funds, the CCC has found that Nigel paid his lover as a sham employee. Bonnie received payments from Nigel over a period of seven years, despite the fact that she did not work for him.
The watchdog’s report outlined the extent of the financial misconduct between Nigel and his girlfriend.
“She took home salary payments totalling more than $60,000 for what was allegedly half a day’s work a week, accrued leave, and was awarded pay rises,” the report said.
“She dined on public funds with Mr Hallett, had access to Parliament, ate in the Parliament House dining room, and received gifts funded by Mr Hallett’s electorate allowance.
“Neither Mr Hallett or Ms Cornwall could demonstrate to the Commission that she did any meaningful work for her pay and other benefits, and the Commission found no evidence of any work performed by her,” the report concluded.
The CCC’s inquiry into Brian and Nigel’s misconduct was prompted by a previous investigation into WA Liberal MP, Phil Edman. Like Brian and Nigel, Phil was found to have misused his electoral allowances on strip clubs, speeding fines, and interstate travel to meet women for sex.
In 2016, Brian, Phil, and Upper House MP Ricky Mazza travelled to Adelaide for a wine tour trip, which they claimed was for “electoral purposes”. Brian, Nigel, Phil and Ricky also regularly dined together at expensive restaurants, with some visiting strip clubs for nude lap dances, at the taxpayers’ expense.
The CCC’s investigations into these abuses of political position and financial power are still ongoing, and continue to face impediments. These include witnesses influencing evidence, destroying or withholding records, giving false testimony, and flouting confidential non-disclosure orders.
However, the CCC is working to compile briefs on the various suspected criminal offences, which will eventually be referred to the appropriate authorities for prosecution.