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By July 22, 2020May 11th, 2021Sport

The Prime Minister’s former Chief of Staff only spoke to former Sport Minister Bridget McKenzie once during his so-called ‘investigation’ of the Morrison Government’s Sports Rorts scandal.

Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet Secretary, Mr Philip Gaetjens, who Scott Morrison tasked with investigating whether Senator Bridget McKenzie breached Ministerial Standards in her management of the Community Sports Infrastructure Grants program, today told the Select Committee on Administration of Sports Grants:

“I undertook the inquiry that I was asked to do.”

That was always the problem with Scott Morrison’s sham self-investigation of his own government’s super-sized Sports Rort.

The Australian National Audit Office’s 10-month, 3800-hour audit of the Community Sports Infrastructure Grants program found:

“The award of funding reflected the approach documented by the Minister’s Office of focusing on ‘marginal’ electorates held by the Coalition as well as those electorates held by other parties or independent members that were to be ‘targeted’ by the Coalition at the 2019 Election.”

Yet the head of the PM’s department, tasked with administering the Ministerial Standards, took just two weeks to decide that he:

“did not find evidence that the separate funding approval process conducted in the Minister’s office was unduly influenced by reference to ‘marginal’ or ‘targeted’ electorates”

Evidence provided today revealed Mr Gaetjens didn’t even speak to the former Sport Minister until 29 January, two days before he handed his secret report to the PM.

The only other conversation his department had with anyone involved in the program was a phone conversation with the then CEO of Sport Australia.

DPMC also ignored the Auditor-General’s finding that “there was no legal authority evident to the ANAO under which the Minister was able to be the approver of CSIG program grants to be paid from the money of Sport Australia”.

Mr Gaetjens claimed it wasn’t relevant, despite the Statement of Ministerial Standards saying ministers must “act with integrity – that is, through the lawful and disinterested exercise of the statutory and other powers available to their office”.

The government refuses to release advice provided to Attorney-General, Christian Porter about Senator McKenzie’s legal authority to overrule Sport Australia’s recommended grants to hundreds of worthy grassroots sports clubs.

The Morrison Government avoids transparency and accountability at all costs and can’t be trusted to spend taxpayers’ money in accordance with the law, let alone fairly.