Scott Morrison’s office knew before the first Community Sport Infrastructure grant was announced that projects were being identified for funding based on marginal and target seat status, the Senate Select Committee on Administration of Sports Grants has found today.
Despite being hindered by a Morrison Government cover-up in overdrive, the Senate inquiry found:
- The Prime Minister’s office, and likely the Prime Minister, were aware of the use of electorate information to identify projects in marginal and targeted electorates well before the first grant recipient was announced.
- The parallel assessment undertaken by the then Sport Minister’s office drew upon considerations of electorate status, and whether a project was in a marginal or targeted seat for the Liberal and National party election campaigns.
The Committee has made nine recommendations, including:
- That Scott Morrison provide a full explanation to the Parliament of his involvement in the rorted program; and
- That the Government fund all projects recommended for grants by Sport Australia but rejected in favour of projects in marginal Coalition-held seats and Labor-held seats the Government was targeting at the 2019 election.
Scott Morrison owes hundreds of community sports clubs an apology, an explanation, and the funding his Government redirected into its industrial-scale Sports Rorts pork-barrelling scheme.
By failing to fund the clubs, councils and community organisations it wronged, despite both the Prime Minister and the Treasurer saying that is what they would do, the Morrison Government has shown that it only supports grassroots sport when there’s a political benefit.
By arguing that it did nothing wrong in rejecting hundreds of worthy projects that Sport Australia independently assessed and recommended, the Morrison Government has badly damaged public faith in the administration of grants.
And by ignoring the evidence of multiple legal experts that the then Minister had no legal authority to be the decisions maker on the grants, the Government has demonstrated that it only believes in the rule of law when it suits its purposes.
Scott Morrison thinks he can wriggle out of any wrongdoing through spin, denial and blame shifting.
He shifted blame to Senator McKenzie in a failed attempt to hide his own involvement.
This report leaves no doubt that the Prime Minister’s office knew grants were being awarded on the basis of whether projects were in marginal or target seats.
The saying goes that a fish rots from the head down. Now we know the Morrison Government rorts from the head down, and it stinks.