WA MP promises to hand back laptop to CCC

Legislative Council president Kate Doust has been urged to hand back a laptop seized from disgraced Liberal MP Phil Edman.
Legislative Council president Kate Doust has been urged to hand back a laptop seized from disgraced Liberal MP Phil Edman.

THE head of a powerful West Australian parliamentary committee has hit back at corruption investigators over claims she is impeding a probe into the misuse of taxpayer funds.

Legislative Council president Kate Doust has been urged by the Corruption and Crime Commission and her own Labor colleagues, including Premier Mark McGowan, to hand back a laptop seized from disgraced Liberal MP Phil Edman.

A CCC report tabled in state parliament on Tuesday revealed Mr Edman used his electorate allowance on acting as a “sugar daddy” to women he met online, visiting strip clubs and paying speeding fines.

The former government whip quit the Liberal Party following the revelations he had misused thousands of taxpayer dollars but CCC chief John McKechnie confirmed other current and former MPs remained under investigation.

After the CCC raided his premises, Mr Edman got a former MP and a party official to warn various sitting members that a seized laptop contained damaging material.

“It’s got everything, all the emails between all of us, Black Hand Gang dinners, it’s got the video, there’s enough stuff on that f***ing computer to bury f***ing a lot of people,” he said to a former MP.

A bitter dispute has since played out between the CCC and the powerful Procedures and Privileges Committee which is chaired by Ms Doust.

The committee demanded investigators return Mr Edman’s laptop over concerns some of the documents it contained were subject to parliamentary privilege.

The CCC capitulated in September as the matter headed to court.

Senior Labor figures including the premier this week urged the committee to return the laptop to investigators amid growing outrage over the misuse of allowances.

In a statement on Thursday, Ms Doust said the committee “supports the important work of the CCC” and is working to release materials to investigators as soon as practicable.

She added that the committee had made previous efforts to cooperate with the CCC but had been rebuffed.

“The standing committee continues to work to release the materials sought by the CCC as soon as practicable,” Ms Doust said.

“Some materials have already been produced. The standing committee anticipates being in a position to complete that task shortly.”