The revolving door of corruption continues to tarnish Conservative politicians’ ranks and their party. Following the tradition of deceit that began in 2013 under Tony Abbott’s (or during Howard’s rein) victory, the Government continues with an openness that most leaders would be embarrassed by. Goodness knows what will happen if they win a fourth term.
1 Who else but Peter Dutton – the Minister for Everything Not Tied Down – could slash “millions in grant funding from organisations that were strongly recommended by his Department, and used the funds to support his own handpicked list”?
Documents obtained under FOI reveal from his own department that:
“The Home Affairs Department recommended funding a list of 70 community safety projects using a merit-based assessment.
Peter Dutton reduced the funding for 19 of the highest-scoring applications and redirected the funding to projects of his choice.
The funding guidelines state the minister can override the department’s merit-based assessments.”
Not only that, but the Minister also used the funds to help out a couple of councils in a marginal seat. It must be like having one’s own personal slush-fund fit for purpose. And to think that his department recommended they shouldn’t be funded at all.
This little morsel of corruption wouldn’t even pass a shandy test in the lady’s lounge.
On top of all this, an investigation by the ABCs 7.30 programme tells all and sundry that Dutton has:
“extraordinary influence that Mr Dutton wields over a multi-million dollar fund, drawn from the seized proceeds of criminal enterprises, for the Safer Communities program.”
As a former copper, you would think he would know better.
The guidelines for the grants for round three of the Safer Communities program stipulate that the Home Affairs Minister must consider each project’s assessment. Still, he has the power to overrule his department’s merit-based reviews.
It was also revealed that:
“… Mr Dutton was warned by the department, in a previously confidential ministerial briefing, that overruling the merit system could draw scrutiny from the Australian National Audit Office or other news organisations.”
Well, they sure did, and sadly they will probably get away with yet another one of these political crimes.
The documents, released under freedom of information laws, can only increase the mistrust we already have in our politicians. How we award, grants generally must be reviewed in light of the avalanche of evidence before us.
As is his usual ploy, Dutton tells us everything is above board and squeaky clean and you should believe him because he is a former policeman.
And meanwhile where is the chairman of this ring of skulduggery? Hawaii? No, he just allows it all to happen.
However, The ABC tells us that:
“The ministerial submission Legal experts have told 7.30 that Mr Dutton’s consideration of the grant funding after the association donated to the Queensland LNP may give rise to a perceived conflict of interest, which could be considered a breach of Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s ministerial standards.”
In breaking news Friday 12 February 2021, The Labor Party has asked the Auditor General to investigate the Safer Communities Fund after departmental documents exposed Mr Dutton diverted almost half the total pool of funding away from recommended projects to his own handpicked ones
2 So the National Party, the party that receives about half the Greens’ votes yet has nine seats to one in the House of Representatives wants to determine Australia’s climate policy. They don’t even have the support of the National Farmers Federation. To say they represent country people is in itself a lie. Just look at the NBN.
They must be the most unqualified group of people to have ever served the nation in this. Whoops, I forgot the redhead.
3 In politics, do you shape the truth for the sake of a good impression? On the other hand, do you tell the truth even if it may tear down the view people may have of you? Alternatively, do you use the contrivance of omission and create another lie. I can only conclude that there is always a pain in truth, but there is no harm in it.
4 From Facebook (author unknown):
“It was refreshing to see David Speers meeting his match on insiders this morning. Sunday 7 February. Try as he might, he could not disrupt or contradict Labor official Marles this morning, who reflected the quiet, competent professionalism awaiting Australia after this tired, lazy crooked Government is removed in favour of a new capable Labor’s government. Do we want more Craig Kelly’s or Marles, the difference is a bit too obvious? Of course, I haven’t even mentioned Tanya Plibersek or Kristina Keneally or penny Wong. Labor has a wealth of reformist talent ready to lead.”
5 This email from Mark Dreyfus I received in my Roy Morgan daily newsletter summary is worth repeating:
“We’ve all seen the ever-growing list of scandals surrounding the Morrison Government.
Sports Rorts. Robodebt. The Western Sydney Airport Land rip off.
The list goes on and on.
Australians deserve to have confidence in their Government. Still, Scott Morrison and his Liberal and National Party mates are doing everything they can to prevent the establishment of a powerful and independent national anti-corruption commission.
The Liberals are even proposing what has been called ‘the weakest watchdog in the country’ which will ensure they are never held accountable for their multiple scandals.”
6 Also from Roy Morgan:
“Professor Andrew Stewart from the University of Adelaide is among 23 labour law experts who have criticised key elements of the Federal Government’s omnibus industrial relations bill. Professor Stewart says a particular concern is the proposal to exempt some enterprise agreements from the ‘better-off-overall test’ for two years. The senior academics have also questioned the proposed definition of a casual worker. Professor Stewart stresses that the academics support some parts of the bill, such as increased penalties for wage theft.” (Original article by David Marin-Guzman, The Australian Financial Review, 09/02/2021).
7 From Peter van Onselen (Peter referred to Minister Greg Hunts astonishing attack on ABC journalist and morning host Michael Roland last Tuesday):
That is absolutely ridiculous. Unless the Liberal Party is paying for the ads and/or the vaccines it’s obviously inappropriate, which is to say nothing of the slur on the journo. Snapping back at the question like a cornered animal might do. https://t.co/GaOcNxP4ue
— Peter van Onselen (@vanOnselenP) February 9, 2021
Anyway, truth won in the end.
My thought for the day
We exercise our involvement in our democracy every three years by voting. After that, the vast majority takes very little interest. Why is it so?
PS: Many thanks to Marilyn Richards, who found the time to write the following:
“Thank you I have enjoyed your writing and your thoughts on this crazy life for some time. I have particularly enjoyed the self-control you seem to have when I have needed to gather my thoughts and courage to stop myself from exploding. Wishing you many more enlightening contributions. To keep some of us sane.”
Like what we do at The AIMN?
You’ll like it even more knowing that your donation will help us to keep up the good fight.
Chuck in a few bucks and see just how far it goes!