THE HON TANYA PLIBERSEK MP
DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
SHADOW MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS
AND INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT
MEMBER FOR SYDNEY
JULIE BISHOP AND ALEXANDER DOWNER HAVE SERIOUS QUESTIONS TO ANSWER
THURSDAY, 22 JANUARY 2015
The Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop, and Australia's High Commissioner to the UK, Alexander Downer have serious questions to answer about reports that Liberal Party President, Richard Alston, and a billionaire hedge fund manager were allowed to host a lavish private party at Australia's official diplomatic residence in London.
Ms Bishop and Mr Downer, a former Liberal Foreign Minister, must immediately explain whether the taxpayer funded residence was used in any way to help raise money for the Liberal Party, or the UK Conservative Party.
If there is nothing to hide, the guest list and any costs incurred should be released in full to the public.
Reports suggest that the High Commissioner, Mr Downer, did not attend the party.
Ms Bishop and Mr Downer must also say why they think it is appropriate to lend the residence for entertaining purposes, especially if the High Commissioner is not present.
Who else have they allowed to use the High Commissioner's residence in this way?
It's understood it is extremely unusual for the High Commissioner not to be present for functions hosted at the official residence, given the importance of keeping things like sensitive communications equipment secure.