One of two brothers of NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet to have gone “missing” sought $50,000 to “revenge unseat” a federal minister, an inquiry has heard.
A NSW upper house inquiry this morning heard evidence from Liberal Party figure Fritz Mare, who said Jean-Claude Perrottet had approached him seeking the money to “branch stack” and “unseat” federal Liberal MP Alex Hawke.
Mare told the inquiry Jean-Claude Perrottet, a “young Liberal” and Christian Ellis, a fellow Liberal Party figure, visited his “private office” in Sydney’s DeeWhy some time “before Covid” seeking $50,000.
“They told me they wanted to unseat a sitting member of parliament…and they thought I might be a prime candidate for that,” Mare said.
“They told me they wanted to unseat a sitting member of parliament” – Fritz Mare
“They said it was because I was friendly with a previous Prime Minister who was was unseated by Alex Hawke.
“They said they had the numbers to unseat him and I should revenge unseat him in the seat of Mitchell.”
Mare said he rejected the request and “terminated the conversation” after about 15 minutes.
Hawke had been “elected” by the people and it was “up to them to unseat him, and not me”, Mare said.
The NSW upper house inquiry is investigating dealings between property developers and the Hills Shire Council, in Sydney’s north-west.
Last Friday the inquiry revealed four “key individuals”,“appear to be deliberately avoiding” the inquiry.
They are Jean-Claude Perrottet, brother Charles Perrottet, Christian Ellis and Hills Shire Council councillor Virginia Ellis.
In news that made national headlines, the inquiry had decided to “summons” each person, meaning they can be arrested if they fail to attend, but because it couldn’t find them, it had been unable to “serve” the individuals.
The law requires that a person be “served” with a summons before it is legally binding.
Yesterday, the inquiry said it had since “made multiple attempts to personally serve summons” on Jean-Claude Perrottet, Christian Ellis and Virginia Ellis but had been “unsuccessful”.
“Missing”. From left: Councillor Virginia Ellis, Charles Perrottet and Jean-Claude Perrottet.
At the heart of the probe is allegations colourful Sydney property Jean Nassif paid to have members of the Hills Shire Council removed and replaced with councillors more favourable to his planned developments.
Nassif denies the allegations.
The inquiry heard the Hills Shire Council mayor and six councillors were removed.
Virginia Ellis, who the inquiry heard is the mother of Christian Ellis, was one of the new councillors.
It also heard Virginia Ellis works for the NSW Liberal MP for Hawkesbury, Robyn Preston.
“Virginia Ellis works for the NSW Liberal MP Robyn Preston”
Hawke, now in opposition, was Assistant Minister for Defence from May 2019 to December 2020 and Immigration Minister from December 2020 until last year’s federal election.
Mare told the inquiry he had previously been involved in a push, along with former Prime Minister Tony Abbott, to “democratise” the Liberal Party to “make sure we didn’t have factions controlling who went to parliament”.
When asked this morning by the inquiry whether he knew the whereabouts of Jean-Claude Perrottet, Mare responded he did not.
“You should probably ask the Premier,” Mare said.
“It’s his brother, he should know where he is”.
The hearing continues…
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