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Labor Accuses Attorney General Of "Clear Conflict Of Interest" Over LNP Donor Appointment

BuzzFeed News revealed George Brandis appointed his son's criminal lawyer to a $370,000-per-year position in the government.

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Labor has released a scathing statement accusing the attorney general George Brandis of a "clear conflict of interest" after BuzzFeed News revealed he appointed his son's criminal lawyer and a party donor to a lucrative government position.

Dan Himbrechts / AAPIMAGE

George Brandis appointed his son's criminal lawyer, Theo Tavoularis, to sit on the Administrative Appeals Tribunal for five years.

The lawyer's firm, Tavourlaris & Co. Lawyers, was also revealed to be a party donor for the Queensland Liberal National Party.

"All Australians should be extremely concerned about revelations this afternoon that George Brandis appointed an LNP donor and lawyer who represented his son in court to a senior role on the Administrative Appeals Tribunal with a salary of $370,000 per year for the next five years," said Labor's shadow attorney general Mark Dreyfus in a statement.

"There is a clear conflict of interest issue in this appointment.

"Either Senator Brandis was not aware of Mr Theo Tavoularis’s history when he appointed him to this prestigious role, or the decision was made in the knowledge of the personal connection with his son."

Dreyfus also listed questions Brandis "must immediately answer" in relation to the story:

– Did he declare this conflict of interest issue to the Cabinet when the appointment was made?

– Did he have any contact with Mr Tavoularis before, or after his appointment?

– Was Senator Brandis aware that Mr Tavoularis was a donor to the Queensland Liberal National Party?

– Did the Attorney-General’s Department recommend that Mr Tavoularis be appointed to the role, or was this appointment Senator Brandis’ idea?

Brandis's office has repeatedly refused to answer questions from BuzzFeed News about the appointment.

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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