Finally, it seems that the long-suffering quiet Australians who were forced to stand by and hold their tongues as Bridget McKenzie and her political advisers rorted and subverted the sports grants scheme, have had enough and have leaked the motherload of incriminating data to the ABC.
These so-called ministerial advisers had even prepared spreadsheets and colour coded grant applications in accordance with the political leanings and the vulnerability of respective seats: Green for Greens, Red for Labor and so on. This lot of so-called advisers sound as though they came from the same litter as the twerps who were advising Angus Taylor, doctoring and falsifying data on the Sydney City Council for a political hit on Clover Moore – where do they get these people?
They completely ignored the weightings and merit-based priorities carefully calibrated by Sport Australia as recommended to the minister in good faith and they substituted politically desirable alternatives that would better favour the coalition going into the election. Ironically, in their haste to help win marginal seats or to protect some of their under-performers, they deprived some deserving LNP safe seats of grants.
Events have now superseded the enquiry being carried out by Phil Gaetjens, Secretary to the Prime Minister and Cabinet. It no longer matters if Gaetjens finds that everything was above board, the facts speak for themselves.
John Howard pointed to a cliché of political life years ago when hounding Ros Kelly over similar claims of pork barrelling and the question he posed then is equally as valid today :
“Does the minister agree that, whatever debate there may be concerning the principle of ministerial responsibility, the practice has almost invariably been that a minister resigns when his or her continued presence is causing damage and embarrassment to that government?”
As the Morrison government prepares for a new parliamentary year with what they hoped would be a clean slate the last thing they want to be doing is squandering political capital defending this hapless, under-performing minister. After all, they still have to defend Angus Taylor – one of their more astute moves was to give the Taylor enquiry to Inspector Plod at the AFP in the sure and certain knowledge that nothing will come of that investigation.
Well, Bridget, it’s time to clear your desk and accompany this nice gentleman from security who will escort you from the building. Like the Norwegian Blue Parrot, your career is now at an end, it has expired, it is no more, it has ceased to be, it has run out of steam, it is a former career!
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