New Premier Mark McGowan’s office swept for bugs - at our expense

EXCLUSIVE, Daniel MercerThe West Australian
A ministerial office in Dumas House.
Camera IconA ministerial office in Dumas House. Credit: Bill Hatto/The West Australian

Taxpayers are forking out $50,000 so the State Government can conduct security sweeps of ministerial offices looking for listening devices.

Premier Mark McGowan yesterday confirmed the Government had hired a private contractor to carry out the security checks at Dumas House, Parliament House and Hale House in West Perth’s parliamentary precinct.

Perth-based security firm Lockforce would be paid “approximately” $50,000 to check whether listening devices had been planted in any offices to spy on ministers and their staff.

A spokesman for the Department of the Premier and Cabinet said the Government had chosen a third party to do the checks because WA Police did not provide the service.

Education and Training Minister Sue Ellery, in her office at Dumas House.
Camera IconEducation and Training Minister Sue Ellery, in her office at Dumas House. Credit: Danella Bevis/The West Australian

The spokesman also said security sweeps were a normal part of government transitions and were done to make sure there were “appropriate security and confidentiality arrangements” in place.

“The Department of the Premier and Cabinet has engaged a private security consultant to undertake a security sweep of executive offices at Dumas House, Parliament House and the Office of the Premier and Cabinet Rooms,” the spokesman said.

“This is part of the normal transition processes associated with a change of government and ensures appropriate security and confidentiality arrange-ments for the Premier, ministers and the Leader of the Opposition.

“A private contractor was used because it is understood that WA Police do not provide this service to government agencies and the contractor has been used previously by the department.”

Ben Wyatt pictured in his new and empty office at Dumas House.
Camera IconBen Wyatt pictured in his new and empty office at Dumas House. Credit: Ian Munro/The West Australian

Opposition Leader Mike Nahan said the move smacked of paranoia by Labor and he questioned what information the Government had to suggest there might have been listening devices installed.

Dr Nahan said it would make no sense for the Liberal Party to have installed any bugs because it would have only been listening to itself in government until a few weeks ago.

He said the Government should focus on explaining how it could pay for its “huge commitments” instead of jumping at shadows.

“You would assume before you did something like this you had a reason for doing it,” Dr Nahan said.

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