Senate to investigate key figures in sports rorts

Original article by Rob Harris
The Sydney Morning Herald – Page: Online : 6-Feb-20

The Senate has passed Labor’s motion to hold an inquiry into the so-called sports rorts scandal. Amongst other things, the probe will seek the release of a report into the affair by top bureaucrat Phil Gaetjens. It cleared former cabinet minister Bridget McKenzie of any wrongdoing over the allocation of sports grants, but found that she had breach ministerial standards over her failure to declare her membership of a shooting club that received a grant. Shadow sports minister Don Farrell says McKenzie’s former staffers may want to appear before the inquiry.

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AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY

MPs warn of side effects if McKenzie fired

Original article by Phillip Coorey
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 4 : 28-Jan-20

Agriculture Minister Bridget McKenzie remains under scrutiny over the ‘sports rorts’ scandal in her previous role as sports minister. Senior bureaucrat Phil Gaetjens will release a report into the allocation of sports grants in coming days, amid demands for McKenzie to lose her portfolio. However, some National Party MPs are concerned that removing McKenzie could embroil Prime Minister Scott Morrison in the scandal, as his office is believed to have passed requests for funds from Liberal MPs on to McKenzie’s office.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF AGRICULTURE AND WATER RESOURCES, NATIONAL PARTY OF AUSTRALIA, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE PRIME MINISTER AND CABINET

Australia among 21 nations where perceived corruption has worsened

Original article by Christopher Knaus
The Guardian Australia – Page: Online : 24-Jan-20

Australia has received a rating of 77 out 100 in Transparency International’s latest corruption perceptions index. This is unchanged from 2019, although the nation has risen from 13th position to 12th in terms of the world’s least corrupt nations. Australia has also been identified as one of 21 countries in which perceived corruption has significantly declined since 2012. Transparency International Australia CEO Serena Lillywhite says the nation’s ranking and trust in the government will continue to decline unless a proposed federal anti-corruption agency is established.

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TRANSPARENCY INTERNATIONAL, TRANSPARENCY INTERNATIONAL AUSTRALIA

Turmoil as Nats split on rorts deputy

Original article by Rosie Lewis, Geoff Chambers
The Australian – Page: 1 & 2 : 24-Jan-20

The future of Agriculture Minister Bridget McKenzie remains under scrutiny in the wake of the so-called ‘sports rorts’ scandal. Prime Minister Scott Morrison has indicated that he will take appropriate action when an investigation by top bureaucrat Philip Gaetjens is completed. However, National Party leader Michael McCormack has expressed support for his embattled deputy, although some Nationals MPs believe that McKenzie’s position is untenable. She was sports minister when the grants for community sports groups were allocated.

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AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF AGRICULTURE AND WATER RESOURCES, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE PRIME MINISTER AND CABINET, NATIONAL PARTY OF AUSTRALIA

PM orders probe into McKenzie

Original article by Rosie Lewis, Olivia Caisley
The Australian – Page: 1 & 2 : 23-Jan-20

The so-called ‘sports rorts’ scandal that has embroiled Agriculture Minister Bridget McKenzie has been referred to Philip Gaetjens, the secretary of the Department of Prime Minister & Cabinet. He will investigate whether McKenzie breached ministerial standards with regard to the allocation of sports grants in her previous role as sports minister. McKenzie has also been accused of a conflict of interests in giving a $35,000 grant to a clay target club of which she was a member. Labor contends that she may be in contempt of the Senate.

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AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE PRIME MINISTER AND CABINET, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF AGRICULTURE AND WATER RESOURCES, AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY

$100m sport grants biased

Original article by Ben Packham
The Australian – Page: 1 & 6 : 16-Jan-20

Auditor-General Grant Hehir has released a report which shows that marginal seats held by the Coalition were among the biggest recipients of grants to ‘grassroots’ sporting groups ahead of the May 2019 federal election. Former sports minister Bridget McKenzie approved the grants, and Hehir found that she failed to take into consideration the recommendations of Sport Australia when allocating the money. The report notes that the grants also favoured seats that the Coalition believed that it could win at the election.

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AUSTRALIA. OFFICE OF THE AUDITOR-GENERAL, AUSTRALIAN NATIONAL AUDIT OFFICE, SPORT AUSTRALIA

PM’s energy free-for-all bid criticised

Original article by Ben Potter
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 5 : 28-Feb-19

The federal government has announced $3.5bn worth of funding for initiatives in the energy sector in recent days. Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced on 27 February that the government will underwrite three Tasmanian pumped hydro projects in 2021 if feasibility studies conclude that they are economically viable. However, several energy industry executives have criticised the government, accusing it of political ‘pork barrelling’ ahead of the election.

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AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE PRIME MINISTER AND CABINET, SNOWY HYDRO LIMITED, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE ENVIRONMENT AND ENERGY, AUSTRALIAN ENERGY REGULATOR, AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY

Lawyers’ bills soar under Coalition

Original article by Nicola Berkovic
The Australian – Page: 7 : 28-Jun-18

New figures show that the outsourcing of legal work to the private sector has significantly increased the federal government’s legal costs since the Coalition took office in 2013. Government expenditure on legal services topped $A825m in 2016-17, compared with $A689m in 2013-14. The proportion of legal work undertaken by in-house lawyers has fallen from 54 per cent to 49 per cent over the same period. Attorney-General Christian Porter has indicated that action will be taken to rein in legal costs.

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AUSTRALIA. ATTORNEY-GENERAL’S DEPT, AUSTRALIAN SECURITIES AND INVESTMENTS COMMISSION, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF HOME AFFAIRS, AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT SOLICITOR, CLAYTON UTZ

Shorten’s excellent $17,000 coral and coal adventure

Original article by Joe Kelly, Sarah Elks
The Australian – Page: 1 & 4 : 1-Mar-18

Federal Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has disclosed that the Australian Conservation Foundation paid for him to tour the Great Barrier Reef and take a chartered flight over the site of Adani’s proposed Carmichael coal mine. ACF CEO Kelly O’Shanassy says Shorten subsequently discussed Labor’s options for blocking the Carmichael project with herself and environmentalist Geoff Cousins. Shorten has attracted criticism over his inconsistent stance on coal mining.

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AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY, AUSTRALIAN CONSERVATION FOUNDATION INCORPORATED, ADANI MINING PTY LTD, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE PRIME MINISTER AND CABINET

Hockey puts tax debate on hold

Original article by Phillip Coorey
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 3 : 13-Feb-15

The Australian Government will issue its tax white paper after the release of its intergenerational report. Treasurer Joe Hockey said on 12 February 2015 that the intergenerational report will provide significant information about factors that are likely to affect Australia’s tax policy. The Government had originally planned to release the tax white paper before Christmas 2014

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AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE TREASURY, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE PRIME MINISTER AND CABINET