A timeline of Angus Taylor's mystery document controversy

Christopher Knaus
Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian

The prime minister, Scott Morrison, has stood by his energy minister, Angus Taylor, despite revelations Taylor’s office is under police investigation for relying on falsified documents to attack Sydney’s lord mayor, Clover Moore.

How did we get to this point? Here’s a recap of the main events that led Taylor into controversy.

24 June 2019

Moore declares a climate emergency which is endorsed by the council. The council writes to the federal government to tell it of its decision.

Related: PM stands by Angus Taylor despite NSW police investigation into doctored document

29 September 2019

Taylor writes a letter to Moore in response suggesting councils take practical steps to reduce their own emissions and points out the council’s annual report shows “your council spent $1.7m on international travel and $14.2m on domestic travel”.

The letter is also handed to the Daily Telegraph.

30 September 2019

The Daily Telegraph publishes a story on page three and online, quoting the letter claiming the council spent more than $15m on domestic and international travel.

Moore disputes the Telegraph story and asks the reporter to provide evidence.

The reporter provides a page from the council’s annual report, which she says was handed to her by Taylor’s office.

The page contains two figures purporting to show the council spent “$14.2” in expenses on interstate travel and “$1.7” on overseas visits.

Moore checks the annual report: on page 14 it shows councillors spent $4,206.32 on interstate travel and $1,727.77 on overseas visits. Moore angrily disputes the story with Taylor via Twitter.

22 October 2019

Moore writes to Taylor asking him to “correct a stark error in your letter” saying the $15m figure was grossly inaccurate.

Moore lodges a complaint with the Press Council.

23 October 2019

The Guardian publishes a story revealing the falsified figures and their use by Taylor’s office.

24 October 2019

Taylor says he makes “no apology for suggesting that the lord mayor should take real and meaningful action to reduce the City of Sydney’s carbon emissions instead of hollow virtue-signalling through letters”.

He states that he obtained the version of the annual report from the council’s website.

But the council releases evidence from its systems showing the documents had not been changed since they were uploaded with the accurate figures in November 2018.

25 October 2019

Labor refers the matter to the NSW police, citing the Guardian’s story and asking for an investigation of whether someone had “made a false document with the intention” of inducing journalists at the Daily Telegraph to accept it as genuine for the purpose of influencing the “lord mayor of Sydney, Clover Moore, and other City of Sydney councillors in the exercise of their public duties”.

Police are also asked to investigate whether an offence had been committed “on the basis that Mr Taylor or one or more individuals from Mr Taylor’s office” knew or believed an offence had been committed but failed to bring it to the attention of police.

Taylor issues a statement sticking to his version of events. He says again he had accessed the document from the council’s website, and says he had evidence multiple versions of the annual report existed at various points since they were uploaded. He says minor formatting differences between the Word and PDF files on the council’s website show multiple versions could have existed online, leaving open the possibility his office downloaded some version of the report containing false figures.

The explanation is rejected by Labor and Moore.

Related: Government blocks access to emails about Angus Taylor's attack on Clover Moore

31 October 2019

Taylor apologises unreservedly for relying on inaccurate figures to attack Clover Moore, but insists he downloaded them from the council’s website.

25 November 2019

Taylor refuses to answer questions about whether he misled the House when he told parliament he had sourced incorrect figures about City of Sydney travel directly from the council’s website.

26 November 2019

Police reveal they are investigating the allegations against Taylor through Strike Force Garrad.

Morrison stands by Taylor. Morrison says he believes there is no need for action after a conversation with the NSW police commissioner, Mick Fuller.