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Federal police open Hanson "evaluation"

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The Australian Federal Police chief is evaluating claims that Pauline Hanson’s One Nation may have breached state or federal electoral laws.

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Labor senator Murray Watt has written to Andrew Colvin asking the AFP to investigate reports Hanson’s party may have breached legal requirements for disclosure of electoral spending and for claiming election funding.

Watt has also sought a probe into the party’s alleged collection of GST without the proper Australian Taxation Office registration required to do so, and the party’s use of an aircraft.

Colvin told a Senate committee on Thursday the AFP was evaluating the claims.

He said he had spoken with the Queensland police commissioner and the AFP had been in touch with both the Australian Electoral Commission and Electoral Commission of Queensland.

The AFP first needed to work out whether they were state or commonwealth offences.

“We are in the early stages of an evaluation,” Colvin said.

“At this stage they are allegations about what may have occurred.”

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull told parliament this week he would be “getting advice” from the AFP.

Colvin said he had not received any referrals from the government.

“We’ve had no discussions with anyone in the government about these matters.”

The justice minister had been advised the AFP received the referral from Watt, but the evaluation itself had not been discussed with the minister.

Attorney-General George Brandis declined to say whether he had spoken with the AFP.

“I don’t discuss advice ministers may have sought from the AFP,” he said.

– AAP

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