Over the last week or so, an important story has been doing the rounds about water buybacks.
The woman who broke the story had her twitter account disabled though the story is still available. (Not linking to it in order to avoid similar legal threats).
Investigative journalists Michael West, who has added to the story, and Margot Kingston, whose twitter feed automatically retweeted the story, have received legal threats.
Yesterday, Michael West tweeted “Update #Watergate: have found extra stuff, still working through accounts, need to get it right due to legal threats, will publish late today.” I am still waiting to read his update.
The Guardian wrote a story titled “Questions over companies chosen for $200m of Murray-Darling water buybacks” on Wednesday.
Today, the ABC’s Laura Tingle, wrote under the heading “Watergate resurfaces, Joyce and Taylor scrutinised”:
“A story about water buybacks that has been floating around since 2017 in various forms threatens to do that to the Coalition after both the Guardian and The Project’s Hamish McDonald and business writer Michael West brought it to the mainstream media this week.
It centres on two water licences bought by the government for a total of $80 million in 2017 from a company once associated with Energy Minister Angus Taylor, Eastern Australia Agriculture, in a deal signed off by the then Water Minister Barnaby Joyce.”
McDonald’s report on The Project is compulsory viewing.
On Thursday, Tony Burke issued a media release with questions for Scott Morrison though I cannot find a copy of it other than as a screenshot – not sure if it has been removed?
On Good Friday, the Department of Agriculture issued a media statement in response to the information hitting the public domain. That in itself is extraordinary.
Let me take this opportunity to say of course Angus and Barnaby have done nothing wrong. Who would ever imply such a thing? But perhaps it’s that very thing, that this deal was all legal, that raises more questions than anything else.
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