The NSW Upper House Inquiry has resulted in calls for matters involving Perrottet family members' links to alleged shady dealings to be referred to ICAC and a new parliamentary inquiry to be held after the March NSW Election. Anthony Klan reports.
THE WEBSITE of a “lobbying” firm tied to a brother of NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet – who refused to give evidence to a parliamentary inquiry — has been erased from the internet.
As we revealed last week, one of the “lobbying” firms named in the Inquiry, Macquarie Consulting, is 100 per cent owned by Anita Perrottet, the wife of Charles Perrottet.
A highly-detailed dossier tendered by the NSW Upper House Inquiry now reveals the website of Macquarie Consulting was deleted sometime after 9 October.
It further reveals that the since-deleted website describes the “expertise” of Macquarie Consulting as “facilitating” partnerships with “governments” — despite the firm not being a registered lobbyist.
The NSW Upper House Inquiry is investigating allegations senior Liberal figures were paid “substantial amounts of money” by controversial property developer Jean Nassif to fund the stacking of Sydney’s The Hills Shire Council to get developments approved. It is alleged those payments were made through “lobbying” or “consulting” companies.
The dossier also reveals the contact person for the since-deleted Macquarie Consulting website has been changed from “Charles Perrottet” to “Anita Macron” — Anita Perrottet’s maiden name.
The revelations follow Premier Perrottet backflipping on his long-held claim that his family should be“left out” of media coverage of the scandal, on Tuesday saying about alleged wrongdoers that “the book should be thrown at them”, regardless of who they are.
The dossier is one of three highly-detailed documents containing information directly tied to the matters investigated and was provided to the Inquiry by an unknown source. It reveals Macquarie Consulting had a detailed website — and that parts of that site can still be accessed via archive site Wayback Machine (here).
Says Macquarie Consulting’s deleted site:
'Our expertise lies in facilitating enduring partnerships between stakeholders and governments... Our industry experience and commercial understanding spans both the public and private sector.'
Macquarie Consulting says it 'understand[s] the full impact' government decisions can 'have on business'. The site says it is important to ensure that 'decision-makers are fully informed of the potential unintended consequences of the policy options available to them...'.
Searches show Macquarie Consulting is not and has never been, a registered lobbyist.
The dossier also shows that the “registrant contact” and the “tech contact” for the Macquarie Consulting website have been changed.
A search of website domain administration service Whois on 9 October showed the “registrant contact” and the “tech contact” for the site at that time was “Charles Perrottet”. Yet a later search, on 14 February, revealed those details had been changed to “Anita Macron”, the dossier states.
Macquarie Consulting Pty Ltd has no connection to the financial giant Macquarie Group, although Anita Perrottet’s LinkedIn biography states she worked as a marketing specialist with Macquarie Group for five months in 2009-2010.
Charles Perrottet and Anita Perrottet refused to respond to my requests for comment.
As previously revealed, the “registered address” of Macquarie Consulting is an accounting firm in regional NSW run by colourful businessman Roy Spagnolo, whose failed property development companies reportedly owe millions of dollars to the tax office.
It is alleged a far-Right “Christian” faction of the NSW Liberal Party called the NSW Reformers was behind the stacking of The Hills Shire Council, which saw the mayor and six other councillors — all Liberals — replaced in December 2021. Charles Perrottet, Jean-Claude Perrottet and Christian Ellis are all alleged to be key figures in the NSW Reformers.
Last Thursday, the NSW Upper House Inquiry heard Ellis was hiding out in a remote forest on the NSW-Victorian border and had been spotted in a vehicle in a “black ski mask".
The fourth person the Inquiry sought to summon was Christian Ellis’ mother, Virginia Ellis, who was appointed to The Hills Shire Council in 2021.
On 8 February, the NSW Upper House Inquiry moved to summon the four witnesses after they failed to respond to invitations to appear, sparking national headlines.
On 20 February, Charles Perrottet wrote to the Inquiry refusing to attend, stating he had 'resided in Victoria since January 2021'. The Inquiry does not have the power to force people outside NSW to attend.
'I will not be participating in your Labor/Greens circus.'
Its final report was highly damning of the “missing” witnesses, describing their refusal to be “served” by the Inquiry (and so forced to appear and give evidence) as "unprecedented”.
Charles Perrottet's email shows he has worked for British Petroleum (BP) since 2014. We called BP. However, spokesman Hamish Fitzsimmons said he would not put us in touch with Charles Perrottet.
We then sent Fitzsimmons a series of questions for Charles Perrottet but was told:
'This is not the correct channel through which to be contacting Mr Perrottet as this does not relate to his employment.'
Charles Perrottet’s LinkedIn biography states he started as "government affairs manager" at the fossil fuels giant in January 2014. That was immediately after leaving his job as deputy chief-of-staff to then Liberal NSW Resources Minister Chris Hartcher. (Hartcher was replaced as Resources Minister when Premier Barry O’Farrell resigned as NSW Premier in December 2013.)
Charles Perrottet’s bio states he 'led the Minister for Resources and Energy’s policy team' where he 'advised on all resource energy industry related matters' — including a $2 billion privatisation deal.
Immediately after leaving, Charles Perrottet began at BP, where he had been recruited to 'manage BP’s external stakeholders (which involved building strong and enduring relationships with policymakers, influencers and industry associations)'.
Charles Perrottet's LinkedIn bio states:
'I formulated BP’s strategic position on public policy issues, engaging all affected internal business units… to ensure advocacy aligned with a whole-of-business advantage. I was responsible for BP’s government submissions and where required provided oral evidence to parliamentary inquiries...'
He has held several roles at BP, including “head of commercial fuels, Australia”, where his responsibilities included driving fuel sales and 'delivering best-in-class bulk fuel supply', including to 'government, mining services and logistics sectors'.
Since January 2021, his title has been 'general manager — global mining decarbonisation'.
In its final report, the NSW Upper House Inquiry calls for the matters to be referred to the ICAC and for the NSW local government minister to launch an investigation and consider putting The Hills Shire Council into administration.
It also calls for a new parliamentary inquiry to be launched after the 25 March NSW Election, 'with Christian Ellis, Charles Perrottet, Jean Nassif and Jean-Claude Perrottet to be called to give evidence'.
Anthony Klan is an investigative journalist and editor of 'The Klaxon'. You can follow him on Twitter @Anthony_Klan.
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