THINGS THAT SLIP OUT IN THE HEAT OF THE MOMENT
NOTE: There is serious doubt about the accuracy of this article. Michael Coutts-Trotter husband of Tanya Plibersek, appears not to be the Michael Coutts referred to. I regret and apologise for the inference.
Four-time Walkley Award winning political commentator and Churchill Fellow, has returned to the fray over concern that the integrity of news dissemination is continually being threatened by a partisan media.
I was dozing watching the TURC on Friday when out of the blue, the name Michael Coutts was uttered. I sat upright, “Surely that can’t be ... ”.
Senior Counsel assisting the Royal Commission, Sarah McNaughton, allowed the name to go through to the keeper but the keeper, Commissioner Dyson Heydon, doesn’t drop many balls so the name will undoubtedly re-emerge, much to the dismay of Bill Shorten and his deputy leader.
Darren Greenfield, a CFMEU official and standover man had been stonewalling McNaughton for hours with, “I can’t remember” and, “I don’t know”, so the name Michael Coutts flew from the feed as a complete non-sequitur.
McNaughton had been reading from a transcript of a text between George Alex and his wife, Nectaria. Now this George Alex bloke launders money for union officials, various NSW criminal gangs including the Muslim bikie group Brothers 4 Life, and is alleged to have assisted the ALP-linked Griffith Mafia.
Greenfield insists his relationship with George Alex was a business-only one and that his only interaction with Alex was in the process of constantly seeking better conditions for his union members who worked for Alex's scaffold company.
Hmmm... transcripts of texts and phone calls suggest something entirely different.
On this occasion Mr Alex was giving instructions to his wife about who was to receive certain cash funds that were kept in a drawer under his bathroom hand-basin.
Greenfield was to get $2,500 and Michael Coutts was to get $1500 (less $500 Mr Alex told Nectaria to hang on to).
Michael Coutts is actually Michael Coutts-Trotter, Secretary of the NSW State Department of Family and Community Services. In 1985 he was sentenced to 9 years imprisonment for the importation of half a kilogram of heroin. (He served only 2 years and nine months of the sentence.)
He is also the husband of Tanya Plibersek who, in an emotional address to Parliament, explained that Michael was a lovely man and deserved a second chance. They were a stand-out couple at last week’s mid-winter ball.
You would think that George Alex would have referred to Coutts-Trotter as simply “Michael C” but unfortunately there was another “Michael C”, (career criminal Michael Cohen) involved in the payments. Two names that required differentiation, and now the cat’s out of the bag.
We will never know the desperate pillow talk that must have transpired between Tanya and Michael over the weekend, but more should be revealed this week.
You see, George Alex is listed to front the Commission.