Pauline Hanson has failed to disclose information and declare a $4500 snorkelling trip on the Great Barrier Reef that was aimed at disproving the reef’s coral was being bleached. The trip, led by Hanson and accompanied by Senators Brian Burston and Malcolm Roberts, involved a large catamaran, a boat with glass bottom and an additional 25 staff and media.
The mission led them to a small patch of reef on Great Keppel Island’s Monkey Reef as Hanson was supposedly attempting to disprove “a green lie” in reference to the bleaching of the reef.
The journey received significant backlash from conservationists as the chosen area is not within the stated region that is currently affected by bleaching, according to experts. The majority of the bleaching has occurred in the far north and is yet to reach more southern regions.
It has now been revealed, almost a year after the trip, that Hanson failed to declare the trip and that it was in fact a gift. This puts the Senator in breach of the rules of parliament and potentially at risk of defiance from the senate.
All three One Nation Senators claimed a return flight to Rockhampton and Hanson and Roberts also collected travel allowance, according to parliamentary records. Interestingly however, the records show that none of the Senators used the charter entitlements to pay for the cruise.
This is because the cruise was actually a gift from Freedom Fast Cats who are a charter company based in Yeppoon. Hanson had initially stated that there was no need to declare the cruise as it came in under the Senate’s $300 disclosure threshold.
It has been shown that a similar cruise package to the one which Hanson and the other Senators embarked on would cost around $4500. This would mean that even if the cost of the cruise was divided amongst the 3 one Nation members, it would still be well over the threshold.
When pressed about the investigation, a spokesperson for Ms Hanson said that whilst Hanson believed that expenses for the trip were within the threshold, “for the sake of completeness” she decided to update here registry of expenses.
According to parliamentary law, Senators are required to update their register of any gifts within 35 days of receiving them. Should they not do this, they are at risk of contempt by the Senate.
This most recent finding doesn’t bide well for Ms Hanson who is currently under investigation for the use of a campaign plane that was also failed to be declared. Murray Watt of Labor said that it is “another example of Senator Hanson thinking she is above the law”