Monday, March 20, 2006

Thoughts on Parker's resignation

David Parker's explanation of his actions was that in the first year (1997), he got the signature of the Official Assignee (because Russell Hyslop was bankrupt) and simply didn't bother in the subsequent years. In July 2000, Russell Hyslop was discharged from his bankruptcy (according to the Insolvency and Trustee Service database) and the control over his shares in Queens Park Mews Limited reverted back to him from the Official Assignee. So when Investigate magazine alleged "between five and nine false statements were filed", it seems they were aware of the possibility that the Official Assignee might have signed the audit waiver for the years 1997-1999 but could not find out whether he had.

However if Parker signed the declarations in the October of each year, then that makes a total of eight declarations for the years 1999-2005 of which he admits seven were signed falsely. So what was the ninth allegedly false document?

I'm increasingly skeptical that Parker can avoid being convicted and ousted from Parliament (as is the case for any conviction that has a maximum sentence of at least two years). According to him, the cost of the audit was $500 so he has evaded $3500 in compliance costs. By way of example, a theft of this magnitude is punishable by up to seven years under the Crimes Act whereas if the sum taken was less than $1000, the maximum penalty is only a year and if less than $500, the penalty only three months maximum.

So Parker may have had a chance of avoiding conviction if he only did it once or twice but for seven years, I very much doubt it. Also worth noting is that when the Hyslop's bankruptcy ended, Parker would have been informed by the Official Assignee that Hyslop was regaining control over his shares. Yet he still continued as before even knowing that Hyslop was unlikely to agree if asked?