Christian Porter’s use of a blind trust to protect him from ever knowing the identity of those who contributed up to a million dollars for his defamation case against the Australian Broadcasting Corporation is to be investigated by Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet secretary Phil Gaetjens (above).
The Bug confirmed this in a seven-hour phone call that began to Mr Gartjens’ office just after 4pm yesterday.
We were on the line for 25 minutes before our call was answered by a junior staffer; we waited patiently another 42 minutes after he said he’d put us through to Mr Gartjens’ private secretary.
“He’s a very busy man but I’ll see if he can spare a moment with you,” she said before the line went dead and the theme music from the original Rocky movie played in our head phones for what seemed like an hour because it was before Mr Gaetjens answered the phone, waiting some minutes before finally saying hello.
When The Bug asked if it was true that Prime Minister Scott Morrison had charged him with the task of determining whether Mr Porter had in any way breached the ministerial code of conduct, music again flooded into our headset which surprised us because we didn’t know that all eight Rocky sequels had very much the same music sound track.
“Yes,” Mr Gaetjens said eventually. And 25 minutes later, adding “That’s” before another half-hour went by before “correct” came through.
To try to save on our phone bill, we then asked Mr Gaetjens how long he expected to complete his inquiry, considering he also had several others that are ongoing and would he be delighted if the Australian Federal Police decided to look into the matter as well, so that he could justify immediately suspending his own inquiry no matter how advanced it was until after the next federal election due in May next year.
Mr Gaetjens must have decided to answer the last part of our question first because as quick as a flash – if 72 minutes could be considered a flash given how long the universe has existed – he replied “Yes!”