WA MP Ian Goodenough rebuffs conflict of interest claims surrounding export business

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Posted

February 04, 2019 16:30:17

WA Liberal MP Ian Goodenough has defended taking a group of overseas visitors to local businesses while being a director of a company that is paid for striking export deals, blaming the controversy on “tall poppy syndrome”.

Key points:

  • Mr Goodenough was keynote speaker at an Asian business conference in WA
  • He escorted a Chinese delegation attending the conference to visit local businesses
  • At the time he was a director of a company that gains commissions from export deals

The Member for Moore escorted a delegation of more than 20 Asian businesspeople to visit several businesses including the Lobster Shack in Cervantes last year.

A post on his official MP Facebook account in June, accompanied by photographs, read:

“Spent the weekend showing groups from the Australia Asia Exchange Conference around economic development opportunities in Joondalup, Wanneroo and Gingin.

“The international visitors enjoyed mixing conference business with tourism activities, spending money locally over their five-day stay. On Sunday, we had lunch followed by a factory tour of the Lobster Shack Cervantes.”

The businesspeople were among delegates who attended the Australia Asia Exchange Conference in Perth, where Mr Goodenough was the keynote speaker.

The Moore MP is a company director and shareholder of Australian Agrimarket Pty Ltd, an agricultural produce and seafood exporter that gains commissions when making export deals.

Mr Goodenough’s involvement in Australian Agrimarket occurs through a subsidiary, Seventeenth Avenue Nominees.

His register of members’ interests shows he became a director of Australian Agrimarket in August, 2017.

Visit not conducted as an MP: Goodenough

Mr Goodenough told ABC Radio Perth that he only would have benefited from the visit to Lobster Shack if an export deal was done — and no deals or business arrangements eventuated as a result of the June visit.

He denied there was a conflict of interest.

“It’s completely separate, I did not represent myself as being part of the Government, or the Government endorsing any of my business activities,” he said.

“It was done as a private individual, in an individual capacity.

“Only a small group decided that they’d like to explore the tourism opportunities of The Pinnacles and Cervantes, and the northern suburbs.

“I recommended a range of different places that I have no interest in as well.”

The Labor Opposition has accused the Member for Moore of failing to meet “standards of integrity and probity”.

But Mr Goodenough suggested he was being attacked for other reasons.

“I can see the syndrome of tall poppy syndrome, where people are always sort of criticised for trying to be entrepreneurial and trying to create business opportunities.

“That is, unfortunately, the rough and tumble of politics.

“My intention was to promote business opportunities, export, commerce and be entrepreneurial – the principles of our Liberal Party.”

‘Not a good look’: Labor

Labor’s legal affairs spokesman, Mark Dreyfus, said it was not a good look.

“Mr Goodenough seems to have used his position as a member of Parliament to promote a business in which he has a financial interest,” he said.

“I think it ought to be self evident that members of Parliament should not be using the status of their office to benefit them personally.

“I gather that Mr Goodenough’s trying to pretend that what he did was alright because he didn’t host the visit in his capacity as an MP — his official social media pages certainly suggest otherwise.

“Everything you do as an MP has to be kept separate from any private business interests.”

Topics:

government-and-politics,

federal-government,

perth-6000,

wa,

australia



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