Month: July 2013

Further Pecuniary Interest Problems Shroud Kevin Rudd’s Office

By Kate Doak.
By Kate Doak.
Jessica Tse (Nee Rudd). Josephine Tse, The Hon. Kevin Rudd MP. (Left to Right) Photo courtesy of @Jess_Rudd (photo posted to Twitter)

Last week I published a story that questioned the accuracy of Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s Pecuniary Interest statements.  This story focused predominantly on the Canberra (35 Mueller St, Yarralumla) and Noosa (“Ocean Blue”) properties that The Rudds own, not to mention the way that they were officially referenced by Mr Rudd, in accordance with Standing Resolutions on the Registration of Members Interests.  These resolutions also govern the reporting of registrible interests of spouses and dependent children of politicians as well.

Now since their purchase in 2010 and 2011 respectively, The Rudds have used these properties for both residential and investment purposes throughout the course of the 43rd Parliament. While “Ocean Blue” was disclosed as being an investment property by Mr Rudd in accordance with Section 3 of the Members Interests Register, the Yarralumla property wasn’t upon its switch to being a rental property (for approximately an 18 month period) and is listed solely in his name.  Furthermore, the substantial rental income from both of these properties wasn’t disclosed as required under Section 10 of the register, while Therese Rein and Mr Rudd are listed as the Borrower and Guarantor respectivly for a loan with an undisclosed financial institution.  This entry appeared to be on top of the loans that had previously been disclosed within the statement, prior to the conclusion of the 42nd Parliament.

Rudd Pecuniary Interests - Yarralumla Purchase and Loans - 25-10-10 Page 7 of 71
Rudd Pecuniary Interests – Yarralumla Purchase and Loans – 25-10-10 Page 7 of 71

Before I published my previous article, I sent a media request to Prime Minister Rudd’s media team requesting confirmation that his Pecuniary Interests statement was both current and correct.  Soon after the article was published, I received the following brief statement via email from a spokesperson within the Prime Minister’s Office:

The Prime Minister’s statement of registrable interests is up to date and available online. When required the Prime Minister’s statement is updated in the usual way.

Now given that pages 7 and 12 of Mr Rudd’s Pecuniary Interests still looked potentially troublesome, I decided to put this statement to the test by acutely analysing one of the properties involved.

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We seriously need to talk about Kevin’s undisclosed income….

Jessica Tse (Nee Rudd). Josephine Tse, The Hon. Kevin Rudd MP. (Left to Right) Photo courtesy of @Jess_Rudd (photo posted to Twitter)
By Kate Doak.
By Kate Doak.

With Kevin Rudd’s return to the Prime Ministers’ Office, there’s been a whole raft of questions that have arisen about the state of the Federal wing of the Australian Labour Party. From Jessica Rudd raising the heckles of a lot of members of both the Public Service and the Press Gallery within Parliament House through to resignations galore from the likes of Emerson, Conroy, Swan and Garrett amongst others, some of these questions have been overt, while others have been a bit harder for people to find.

Take the glaring rental-income time-bomb that’s been lurking in the shadows of Mr Rudd’s Pecuniary Interests for the past three years, for example.

Pecuniary Interests submission for the purchase of "Ocean Blue" in 2011.
Pecuniary Interests submission for the purchase of “Ocean Blue” in 2011. Page 12 of 71 – Date 15-2-2011

As some of you would be aware, The Rudds own a property near Noosa called “Ocean Blue”, while according to the Pecuniary Interests Register, Mr Rudd himself owns a $2.25million mansion at 35 Mueller Street in Yarralumla, which is one of the priciest suburbs to be found in Canberra. Needless to say these properties command a hefty rental pricetag, with “Ocean Blue” setting potential holiday goers back a cool $6800 a week throughout the peak summer holiday period, via Zinc Properties Noosa. While 35 Mueller Street’s rental income is undisclosed, it has been stated by The Canberra Times that the property was rented out between late 2011 and mid June 2013. Given the characteristics of this property, as well as the rental prices for comparible homes within Yarralumla, it wouldn’t be unreasonable for the rent to have been over $1300 a week throughout this period.

Needless to say, even if the “Ocean Blue” property was only rented out for three weeks a year during the peak holiday period and the Yarralumla property for $1300 a week over an 18 month period, that’s a substantial level of income which has quietly been entering the coffers of the Rudd household over the course of the 43rd Parliament.

Now given that politicians are required to update their Pecuniary Interests within 28 days of a change taking place (amongst other requirements), this raises a particularly interesting question:

Why didn’t Prime Minister Rudd disclose the fact that he and his family have received substantial levels of income via rental proceeds from these properties since their purchase nearly three years ago, as required by Section 10 of the Pecuniary Interests Register, on top of the registration of ownership of said properties in Section 3?

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