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The Telegraph – Inside run on green slip law

18-Jun-2013

THE TELEGRAPH
A FORMER NRMA director says he met embattled finance minister Greg Pearce’s deputy chief of staff Natalie Ward about green slip policy, and was subsequently dismayed to learn her husband, Liberal powerbroker Michael Photios’ business partner David Begg, was lobbying for the insurance companies.


Publication: The Telegraph
Reporter: Andrew Clenell
Date: 18/06/2013
View the article on The Telegraph here

Inside run on green slip law – Greg Pearce staffer linked to key lobbyist
 
A FORMER NRMA director says he met embattled finance minister Greg Pearce’s deputy chief of staff Natalie Ward about green slip policy, and was subsequently dismayed to learn her husband, Liberal powerbroker Michael Photios’ business partner David Begg, was lobbying for the insurance companies.
 
The Daily Telegraph revealed yesterday Mr Pearce’s office was lobbied by Mr Photios’ lobbying firm Premier State and Mr Begg on behalf of insurance companies to get on with green slip reform – reform set to reap insurance firms hundreds of millions.
 
Mr Pearce’s office maintains Ms Ward had nothing to do with green slip policy.
 
Former NRMA director Richard Talbot said he had a meeting with Ms Ward in September 2011 where she told him the proposed reform was all about getting prices down and never mentioned it was being drawn up in consultation with insurance firms.
 
The Shooters Party said yesterday it would block the green slip reforms in the upper house. It wants the government to maintain legal representation for accident victims and to make it less harsh on injured children, most of whom will now have medical expenses capped after five years.


SCANDAL: Green slip link to Pearce’s Lib mate


Mr Pearce, after admitting Premier State client Suncorp hosted him at the Melbourne Cup, also finally admitted yesterday who hosted him at the AFL grand final and Australian Open on taxpayer-funded trips last year.
 
At the AFL grand final it was “HostPlus – in line with the minister’s responsibility for superannuation,” a spokesman for the minister said. And at the Australian Open, it was Optus – “in line with the minister’s responsibility for information communication technology”.
 
The emails between Ms Ward and Mr Talbot show Mr Talbot telling Ms Ward about why green slips rose under Labor and claiming it came after NRMA lobbying.
 
Ms Ward replies: “Thank you for the information which is very useful. I will discuss it with Greg. Obviously there are a lot of vested interests in retaining the current arrangements.”
 
A spokeswoman for Mr Pearce said: “Ms Ward met with Mr Talbot once on 27 September 2011. This had no relation to CTP changes. Ms Ward had no involvement in the development or formulation of CTP policy.”


SUPPORT: Premier Barry O’Farrell backs embattled Pearce


But the emails presented by Mr Talbot between the pair, setting up the meeting, were headlined “CTP policy”.
 
“It’s about time the public were told the truth about all the behind-the-scenes lobbying the big end of town does aimed at gouging more profits and reducing the compensation of those badly injured in motor vehicle accidents,” Mr Talbot said.
 
Mr Pearce approved green slip rises of 10 per cent for the insurance companies in January. He claims his reforms will lead to a reduction of green slip prices by 15 per cent. Critics claim there is no guarantee there will be that reduction and the legislation allows insurers to push for further increases.