SMH: Police Commissioner says government let him hold paid role on bank board

NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller says the government allowed him to have a paid role on the board of the Police Bank, in a revelation weeks after he was reportedly blocked from a remunerated position with the Australian Rugby League Commission following legal advice.

Mr Fuller told a parliamentary hearing on Friday he received no legal advice about whether he could sit on the board of the Police Bank while at the same time serving as the state’s top lawman but had regardless been given the green light by his employer, the NSW government, to do so.

“I don’t have to seek legal advice on that. I have to ask my employer if they are happy for me to do this certain role,” Mr Fuller told the upper house committee under questioning by Greens MLC David Shoebridge.

“I went through the proper chains in terms of seeking approval.”

Mr Shoebridge asked Mr Fuller, “You haven’t seen any legal advice on conflicts of interest involving your position as a police commissioner and third-party occupations?” to which the commissioner answered, “Nup, none.”

The member-owned bank announced on February 12 that Mr Fuller was stepping down from his role as a director, a week before it was revealed he was being courted to fill a position on the board of the ARLC by its chairman Peter V’landys, sparking conflict of interest concerns.

The bank said Mr Fuller had stepped down due to his increased demands during the pandemic, with the commissioner telling the hearing he had actually exited the role in December.

Asked how much he was paid in that role, Mr Fuller said he was unsure and undertook to take the question on notice.

The Herald has previously reported NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Mr V’landys both rang Mr Fuller on February 21 to inform him he would not be allowed to join rugby league’s top table on legal advice, believed to relate to the payment of a $75,000 director’s fee.

Mr Fuller told 2GB radio the following day: “Obviously my contract is a complex one and my role in the state is a complex one and I just think that the lawyers found it difficult to get past that and I respect that, too.”

The Premier’s office declined to answer questions about the government’s decision on Friday, saying it was the responsibility of Police Minister David Elliott.

Mr Elliott told the parliamentary hearing on Friday that he was supportive of Mr Fuller taking on the ARLC position, pending legal advice.

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