FORMER South Metropolitan MLC Phil Edman has been named in the furore surrounding the Corruption and Crime Commission’s recent report on former WA Trade Commissioner in Tokyo, Craig Peacock.
The report alleges Mr Peacock acted inappropriately and was responsible for serious misconduct dating back to November 2008.
In Chapter Eight, entitled ‘Organising a trip for a massage for Members of Parliament’, Mr Edman is described as being a close friend of Mr Peacock’s, who asked Mr Peacock to organise a short itinerary to use up electoral allowance before the end of June 2015.
A trip to Indonesia and Japan was largely organised by Mr Edman on behalf of two other Members of Parliament including Brian Ellis.
The men paid for their own travel.
It is not suggested in the CCC report that Mr Edman engaged in illegal activity.
When considering Mr Peacock’s actions, however, the CCC looked at text message exchanges between the men.
Mr Edman stated to Mr Peacock via text, en route to Japan from Indonesia, that he wanted to go to a geisha bar and that ‘the boys are sexually frustrates (sic)’.
Further on he stated ‘Never had a Japanese honey before’ and ‘Your (sic) our best trade commissioner’.
Mr Peacock immediately replied: “Leave it with me.” The answer was “Yep.” Mr Peacock further replied: “Ok mate, I will need to consult with Hashimoto on this but he is ultra discreet, nothing to worry about.”
Mr Edman and Mr Ellis gave evidence to the CCC that they visited a bathhouse in an expensive red light district on a Sunday in company with Mr Hashimoto – a part-time senior advisor to Mr Peacock who is now 74-years-old and could not recall the events himself.
The CCC found evidence that Mr Hashimoto negotiated payment of about $700 per person to the bathhouse, and Mr Edman and Mr Ellis gave evidence their sole purpose was to bathe and have a traditional Japanese massage from a Japanese ‘Geisha’.
Mr Ellis told the CCC he had a bad back and often got massages when he travelled and said he had no knowledge of the text messages.
They claimed that their visit to the bathhouse was not for a sexual purpose and neither asked for or received any sexual service.
Mr Peacock however thought he was being asked by Mr Edman to arrange sexual services in Japan.
Mr Edman gave evidence that the text messages were flippant “just boys being boys” and both he and Mr Ellis said they did not engage in any illegal or improper activity.
The CCC report says as a Member of Parliament, Mr Edman was entitled to an electorate allowance ‘in consideration of the obligations of a Member effectively to represent the needs of an electorate, and to undertake parliamentary duties an electorate allowance is provided to be utilised as the member sees fit’.
Mr Edman was a councillor at the City of Rockingham from 2005 before becoming a Member of the Legislative Council from 2008 until May 2017.
The Commission decided suppression of the former public officers’ names could not be justified.