Perth politician and Australia’s assistant defence minister Andrew Hastie has revealed he’s being paid by Nine.
He’s listed the media organisation as providing the gift of legal advice and representation, as Nine and the member for Canning fight defamation claims linked to a covert recording.
Hastie has revealed on his parliamentary register of interests, “gifts in relation to a future legal proceeding to be heard in the Supreme Court of Western Australia, legal advice and representation is being provided by the Nine group of companies.”
The “proceedings” are a defamation fight ignited over two stories run by Nine News masthead WA Today.
At the heart of the case is a recording of a meeting at the Subiaco Hotel between businessman Greg Poland and three others.
Poland’s lawyers allege it was made illegally, and distributed by Hastie to former WA Today journalist Nathan Hondros in a breach of the WA Surveillance Devices Act.
The legal team also argue that a 22-minute call the day before the first article was published, inferred Hastie may have had some control of the article.
When the Member for Canning was named in the action in August he said he was “not intimidated.”
“One of the enduring lessons that I’ve taken from Afghanistan and I know many other veterans share the same view, and it’s this – weakness is provocative,” he said.
“So I’m not intimidated by this legal action, I’m proud of my service as a federal member for Canning.
“I’ve fought for my community, I’ve fought for my country.
“And so I welcome a thorough forensic searching and expansive examination of the plaintiff’s claim in open court.”
After altering his register around the time his wife was giving birth, his office issued a statement saying, “as this matter is before the courts, Mr Hastie is not going to comment.”
“He has always stood by his conviction that elected government officials and their appointees should behave transparently and in the interests of the community, not themselves,” the statement read.
“Mr Hastie has complied with all requirements in disclosing his legal representation to the Prime Minister and to the parliament.”
Nine wouldn’t comment on the payments when contacted on Wednesday.
But 7NEWS understands they plan to cover the costs of Hastie’s legal fees as the litigation plays out in court.
There’s no dollar amount on the legal support because it’s not yet clear how long the trial run.
There is no answer either on why Nine feels it is appropriate to be footing a politician’s legal costs when he’s appearing as a defence witness in the media company’s own defamation trial against former SAS soldier Ben Roberts-Smith.
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