Labor refers Government's dodgy deal on armoured cars to Auditor-General

Joint media release with Tony Zappia MP
 
Labor has asked the Auditor-General to investigate the highly questionable procurement process behind the Abbott Government’s decision to source its armoured vehicles from overseas rather than local suppliers. 

Labor is concerned that the process for purchasing of the new fleet was compromised by the Abbott Government’s vendetta against automotive manufacturing in Australia.
 
The Abbott Government has been caught out telling blatant untruths over its decision to award the $6.2 million armoured vehicle contract to BMW.
 
Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane categorically denied that Holden had submitted a bid for this contract.

 …Holden didn't bid for the armoured car program. 
- Ian Macfarlane, Joint Press Conference with Acting Prime Minister Warren Truss, 11 December 2013
 
Under questioning from Labor Senator Catryna Bilyk in Estimates, officials at the Attorney-General’s Department have now revealed that Holden submitted not one, but two bids – one jointly with BAE, which the Department confirmed was selected as the preferred tender for the contract.

Mr Norris: Yes there were two received by Australian based companies. So Holden was involved in both –
- Hansard, Senate Estimates, 20 November 2014
 
But in a politically-motivated move the Abbott Government cast aside the successful BAE/Holden bid and unilaterally awarded the contract to BMW, which hadn’t even submitted a bid.
 
If this abuse of process wasn’t bad enough, the Abbott Government went on to mislead the public about the tender process as part of its extraordinary attack on Holden and car manufacturing in Australia.
 
When a similar tender process was conducted in 2004, the Howard Government chose to go with Holden over BMW, with the then Prime Minister reported to have “had his heart set on Australian-made”.
 
Clearly Tony Abbott is no John Howard and does not share his predecessor’s appreciation for the value of Australia’s automotive industry.
 
Overturning the outcome from an open, competitive tender process commenced by the previous Labor Government raises serious concerns around probity.
 
The Abbott Government has failed to afford BAE or Holden even the most basic opportunities under the requirements for procedural fairness.
 
These are serious failings relating to a significant outlay of taxpayer funds and that is why Labor has referred the matter to the Auditor-General.
 
Senator Brandis was not able to answer questions in the Senate this week over this hopelessly compromised tender process as he didn’t have his brief – despite having attended the estimates hearing on this matter just over a week ago. 
 
A comprehensive and detailed investigation into this matter is urgently needed, and that is why Labor has made this referral to the Auditor-General.
 
 
THURSDAY 4 DECEMBER 2014


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