The Herald Sunâ€™s gun reporter Padraic Murphy revealed today that David Davis had neglected to disclose a shareholding in the Commonwealth Bank, which has extensive dealings with the Victorian government. Some thought claims that Ted Baillieu was linked to tax havens were a bit of a stretch but he’s certainly onto something with Davis.
IT’S A LOT OF MONEY
VEXNEWS has learned that Davis owns 1200 shares in the Bank, which have traded as high as $60 a share this year and are currently worth around $51 each, making his investment worth $61,200. Itâ€™s a large amount of money to have forgotten about.
Indeed, the Commonwealth Bank pays a twice-yearly dividend as well, meaning that Davis has collected thousands of dollars of dividends from the bank since neglecting to disclose his shareholding.
While VEXNEWS is not a vehicle for idle speculation, we can only hope Mr Davis did not forget to disclose his income from the Commonwealth Bank to the Australian Tax Office, as required by law.
NO EYE FOR DETAIL
Davis is not a wealthy man and Liberal insiders tell VEXNEWS while there wouldnâ€™t have been any malicious intent involved that it did make colleagues wonder whether he had an â€˜eye for detailâ€™ that would be required as the third most senior minister in a Liberal government.
â€œAs the Minister for Health heâ€™d be responsible for the expenditure of many billions of dollars a year, so itâ€™s not a good look,â€ a Davis critic explained.
Internal Liberal critics â€“ who have been keeping their head down to avoid blame for undermining the federal or state campaigns â€“ have worried that Davis doesnâ€™t have the judgment to hold down high office either, demonstrated by walking into a $200,000 defamation trap set by shrewd Labor strategist Stephen Newnham and what some say is excessive drinking in Parliament House, particularly in the evening.
MATTHEW’S THE GUY
While the lad himself talks it down, many see highly effective Liberal planning spokesman Matthew Guy as a far better prospect to step up in the upper house leadership role.
With the federal election going down to the wire, after a compelling Tony Abbott showing at the Rooty Hill RSL debate last night, Victorian state politics is slowing entering its own election phase. David Davis is certainly loyal to Ted Baillieu factionally, which is why Baillieu keeps him there. But with an election win a distinct possibility for the Victorian Liberals, many are wondering whether they can afford a big-drinking, complacent and sloppy upper house leader letting the side down when thereâ€™s a younger, sharper and hungrier alternative ready to make his move.
He might now have the biggest chance heâ€™s going to get.
UPDATE: Davis’s stupidity and neglect have only served to draw more attention to Ted Baillieu’s issue about disclosure of his own investments. He was mercilessly lampooned in Parliament yesterday for buying CSL shares at the time of the swine flu epidemic, suggesting he might have been cashing in on the misery of others and has been avoiding the press as well hoping no-one will notice their self-imposed goals. Many Liberals wonder why someone who is in a good position to win has consistently undermined his own reputation by not creating a blind trust or similar arrangement that would make this issue go away. Apparently only one brave soul in the party room has been willing to raise this as a concern. The reaction from the Leader’s office did not encourage them to make further representations, we hear.
UPDATE: Recent revelations by VEXNEWS and the Sunday Herald Sun that Davis planned to hit up his parliamentary colleagues for his $200,000 defamation bill have caused several Liberals this afternoon to question whether they should have been forced to pay for his expensive mistake, particularly in circumstances where he’s got a lazy $60,000 lying around in the form of forgotten Commonwealth Bank shares he originally bought for a song, back in 1991.