The Lyne MP David Gillespie has denied breaking any parliamentary rules, and having an indirect financial interest in the Commonwealth, by leasing a shop he owns to a tenant who runs an Australia Post outlet.
Dr Gillespie, who is Assistant Health Minister, owns the Lighthouse shops at Watonga Street in Port Macquarie. One shop is a post office.
Labor has demanded that the Turnbull government urgently probe the Lyne MP’s electoral eligibility under section 44 (v) of the constitution, because Australia Post is a government-owned corporation.
Section 44(v) is an anti-corruption measure, designed to stop people sitting in Parliament and at the same time making money through contracts with the Commonwealth.
Dr Gillespie told the Wauchope Gazette on Tuesday April 11 that when he bought the shops, one of them was already being run as a post office by a couple who continued to lease it.
“It’s an existing tenancy from long before I bought it – a mum and dad small business couple, who ran a licensed post office,” he said.
“The widow in the couple still runs it. My and the family’s arrangement is we just lease space. We don’t have any agreement with Australia Post; we have an agreement with the lady as an individual,” added Dr Gillespie.
When asked if he declared the arrangement when he became an MP, he replied:
“Yes, it was declared back in 2013.”
Labor has also criticised Dr Gillespie for having his primary electorate office in Port Macquarie instead of in the electorate of Lyne. The 2016 re-distribution moved Port Macquarie outside of Lyne.