Australian Lawyers in Money Over Anti-Corruption Inquiry

Australian lawyers are in the money big time over a Corruption Inquiry that will see them taking in around $25 million in legal fees, with most of that going to Minter Ellison.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that barristers and solicitors are raking in about $25 million of taxpayer cash for their work on the commission – and that doesn’t include their expenses.

It’s well known that counsel assisting Jeremy Stoljar​, who came under fire from Labor figures this week for his tough grilling of Mr Shorten, is getting paid $3.3 million for his efforts.

But he’s not the only barrister taking home a big pay packet. An analysis of government contracts published on the AusTender website shows at least four other Sydney-based silks have been contracted. Michael Elliott is getting $1.3 million, Richard Scruby​ $960,000, Sarah McNaughton $866,000 and Fiona Roughley​ $831,000. But the biggest winner is possibly law firm Minter Ellison, Attorney-General George Brandis’ former employer. The firm was originally awarded a $2 million contract but that figure quickly grew to about $8 million. It has now ballooned to $17 million. Senator Brandis has previously said he had no influence on the decision to award the contract to Minter. He says it was the choice of the former head of his department, Roger Wilkins.

The decision came after a “limited tender procurement” and after the firm was judged suitable by Commissioner Dyson Heydon, a former High Court justice, and Mr Stoljar. The royal commission began in March 2014 and is expected to conclude in December this year. All told it is expected to cost taxpayers $60 million to $80 million.

 

Source: Sydney Morning Herald

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