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Attorney General Can't Remember If He Organised Cheap Legal Fees For His Son

The Queensland lawyer and LNP donor was later appointed to a government job worth $370,000/year.

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Five months after Theo Tavoularis donated to the Liberal National party, the Queensland lawyer represented attorney general George Brandis' son in a criminal matter.

Lukas Coch / AAPIMAGE

At Senate estimates on Monday, Brandis was unable to remember whether he organised Tavoularis to represent his son Simon in the Brisbane magistrates court at a discounted rate.

"I'd have to check," said Brandis. "It was a long time ago. I'd have to put that on notice".

A BuzzFeed News investigation revealed last month, Tavoularis' legal firm had donated $1,200 to the LNP on the eve of the 2013 federal election.

Five months later, Tavoularis represented the attorney general's son, Simon Brandis, in court after Brandis was charged with damaging property.

Simon Brandis was later let off, with the prosecutor not pursuing the charge in court.

Earlier this year, Tavoularis was named among George Brandis' 76 appointments to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.

The Queensland barrister, LNP donor and Brandis family legal representative was appointed to a job worth $370,000/year, for five years.

Labor has called Tavoularis' appointment to the AAT a "clear conflict of interest" for the attorney general, who said he never flagged it with anyone in the cabinet.

On Monday, Brandis continued to maintain there was no conflict of interest with the appointment.

"I don’t consider [it a conflict of interest], and I didn’t consider that I had as conflict of interest," Brandis said in Senate estimates.

Brandis took the questions on notice, and will provide answers to the Senate committee as to whether Tavoularis provided discounted legal advice at a later date.

Mark Di Stefano is a political editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in Sydney.

Contact Mark Di Stefano at mark.distefano@buzzfeed.com.

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