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Mikaelia Cash staffer quits after leaking news of AWU raid

A government minister’s staffer has resigned after admitting to tipping off the press to a police raid on the Australian Workers Union.

David De Garis, senior media adviser to Employment Minister Michaelia Cash, quit on Wednesday night following the Australian Federal Police raids on Tuesday.

‘My staff member came to me during the dinner break and has resigned from my employment,’ Senator Cash told Parliament.

‘He has admitted he was wrong. He is very distressed.’

A senior media adviser to Employment Minister Michaelia Cash (pictured) resigned after admitting to tipping off the press to a police raid on the Australian Workers Union

David De Garis didn't fess up until his boss repeatedly denied she or anyone in her office was responsible for the leak

David De Garis didn’t fess up until his boss repeatedly denied she or anyone in her office was responsible for the leak

The AWU’s Sydney and Melbourne offices were raided as part of an investigation into $100,000 in potentially illegal donations to left-wing activist group GetUp! 

The married West Australian didn’t fess up until his boss denied fives times over she or anyone in her office was responsible for the leak.

‘I was not aware of it at the time and was not aware of it earlier today at Senate estimates,’ the minister said.

‘This took place without my knowledge and was not authorised by me.’

Senator Cash said Mr De Garis got the information from a ‘media source’ just before the raids but wouldn’t say who it was.

The AWU's Sydney and Melbourne offices were raided as part of an investigation into $100,000 in potentially illegal donations to left-wing activist group GetUp! 

The AWU’s Sydney and Melbourne offices were raided as part of an investigation into $100,000 in potentially illegal donations to left-wing activist group GetUp! 

Senator Cash said Mr De Garis (pictured) got the information from a 'media source' just before the raids but wouldn't say who it was

Senator Cash said Mr De Garis (pictured) got the information from a ‘media source’ just before the raids but wouldn’t say who it was

She denied misleading the Senate because she answered questions from the opposition based on what she knew at the time.

‘As previously indicated I was not notified of the raids until I watched them unfold on the television,’ she said. 

Earlier in the day she defiantly defended her staff and rebuked her critics for even suggesting they could have been the leak.

‘I can assure you that I found out about the raids as they unfolded on the television. I can also assure you that my office did not find out about the raids until after they were being conducted,’ she said.

‘It is a very serious allegation you are making and I refute it completely. And quite frankly I am offended on behalf of my staff.’

The investigation centres on whether the donations followed union rules while Opposition Leader Bill Shorten was an executive there 

The investigation centres on whether the donations followed union rules while Opposition Leader Bill Shorten was an executive there 

Labor frontbencher Tony Burke was not satisfied and called for Senator Cash’s resignation over the bungle.

‘There needs to be a resignation here because it defies credulity that Senator Cash gave false information five times to the Senate and her staff said nothing,’ he said. 

‘There might be a member of Senator Cash’s staff who’s just resigned but the wrong person has resigned.’ 

Senator Cash was the one who referred the donations to the Registered Organisations Commission, whose investigation led to the raids.

The investigation centres on whether the donations followed union rules while Opposition Leader Bill Shorten was an executive there.

It is also looking into whether Mr Shorten’s 2007 parliamentary campaign received AWU donations as well.

It is also looking into whether Mr Shorten's 2007 parliamentary campaign received AWU donations as well 

It is also looking into whether Mr Shorten’s 2007 parliamentary campaign received AWU donations as well 

The Australian Electoral Commission has asked GetUp to follow disclosure rules before, which require the group to make public what funding it receives and how it will be spent.

Groups handed these kind of obligations are known as ‘associated entities.’

They are defined as a group controlled by one or more political parties, or operating to a significant extent for the benefit of political parties.

The AEC said there was information to suggest GetUp’s donations last year could be seen as having benefited Labor and the Greens, the ABC read in a letter.

The AEC said there was information to suggest GetUp's donations last year could be seen as having benefited Labor and the Greens 

The AEC said there was information to suggest GetUp’s donations last year could be seen as having benefited Labor and the Greens 

GetUp has since denied the claims and insisted it is an independent movement.

AWU Victoria branch secretary Ben Davis said the AFP’s decision to raid the building was the wrong choice.

‘This is an abuse of power, it is an abuse of process and you have not heard the end of this,’ he told the Herald Sun. 

Labor workplace relations spokesman Brendan O’Connor seconded that notion by stating the Turnbull government was on a ‘witch hunt.’

‘They will stop at nothing to attack workers and their representatives.’

Victorian Trades Hall Council Luke Hilakari tweeted: ‘This is how democracies are ruined. Campaign groups are silenced, government raids offices, media used to set it up…this is very disturbing.’ 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk