Thu. May 26th, 2022

The WA Parliament has handed over more than half a million documents from a Member of Parliament’s computer hard drives to the corruption watchdog as part of an investigation into the risk of misconduct.

The Corruption and Crime Commission (CCC) seized former Liberal MP Phil Edman’s laptop and two hard drives in 2019 after publishing a damning report on his misuse of parliamentary spending, which included travel for sex and payment for strippers.

The report showed that he also used public money to pay for call charges for his yacht, called the “Prime Minister”.

The CCC was ordered to return the notebook, and a Supreme Court later examined whether Edman’s notebook was protected by parliamentary privilege.

Mr.  Edman stands at the wheel of a yacht, holding the steering wheel in boat shoes, white shorts and a shirt.  He looks into the distance.
Former MP Phil Edman on a yacht.(Facebook: Phil Edman)

It decided that the decision to release the material could only be taken by Parliament.

WA’s Upper House President Alanna Clohesy told parliament today that more than half a million items had been handed over to the watchdog.

“The Procedural and Privileges Committee was able, with the help of digital forensic staff from the Commission, to facilitate production for the Commission in an acceptable format, electronic copies of more than 500,000 non-privileged items.”

She said another 10,000 were isolated and considered under privilege, so they were not released.

CCC Commissioner John McKechnie said in September that the commission had been informed that there was 150 GB of deleted data on the laptop.

Enough material ‘to bury people’

The 2019 CCC report on the misuse of MPs’ election allowances included communication between Edman and a then MP in August 2019:

But I just wanted to send a warning to (name edited) that they have MP, my MP computer… which stores everything, it has everything, all emails between us all, Black Hand Band dinners, it has the video…

He also sent a message to a businessman the following month:

And there are enough things on that f *** a computer to bury f *** a lot of people and ruin their political careers forever … There are videos and pictures and lots of lovely little collections that I have there .

Edman left the Liberal Party just hours after the report was released after then-WA leader Liza Harvey began the process of deporting him.

At the time, Commissioner McKechnie said the parliamentary allowances represented a serious risk of misuse, worth $ 7.4 million a year.

Following the Supreme Court ruling, Mr McKechnie said the Commission’s investigation into allegations of serious misconduct had been prevented without access to the non-privileged material on Mr Edman’s laptop and two hard drives.

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