The excuses offered by Senator Nash to ignore growing concerns about her Ministerial position are looking more flimsy by the day.
Today in Question Time, Senator Nash refused to provide any details of the advice she is relying on hold on to her Ministerial position.
This is not good enough.
With constitutional experts like Professor George Williams offering a clear opinion that National Party Ministers Senator Nash and MP Barnaby Joyce should cease making decisions, the time has come for Senator Nash to either release this advice – or to resign from Cabinet.
With the risk that Ministers Nash and Joyce will be disqualified from being eligible to sit in the Australian Parliament, Professor Williams has said that every decision since last year’s election could be challenged.
This puts every executive order, grant, delegation, appointment and legislative instrument Senator Nash signed or made since the Minister became aware of this situation on 14 August 2017 under a cloud of doubt.
The ongoing uncertainty is unfair to regional Australia and puts all regional programs in Minister Nash’s portfolio into limbo.
Senator Nash has a high degree of ministerial discretion over around $1.7 billion in public funds. The regional communities of Bowen Basin, Cairns and Wide Bay in Qld; North Coast and South Coast of NSW and Geelong in Victoria are keenly awaiting the outcome of decisions on $135 million in the Regional Jobs and Investment Package.
It is untenable to keep these regions in the dark until the High Court decision later this year.
Last week I wrote to the Prime Minister drawing his attention to these issues. I have yet to receive a response.
Regional Australia deserves better than lame duck Minister without authority or legitimacy.