Thursday, 8 September 2022
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Prime Minister, regarding the last government's $18 million grant to the Australian Future Leaders Foundation, an initiative of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet in consultation with the office of the Governor-General. Will your government commit to reviewing other discretionary grants made by the Morrison government to charities and community organisations?
I thank the member for Kooyong for her question. The government has indeed been going through, line by line, the commitments that were made by the former government. In some cases they were made in budgets. In some cases they were announced during the election campaign as part of what became a growing feature of the former government's budgets, which was the so-called contingency funds for contingencies—that is, 'In case of emergency in the electorate of Kooyong, break glass.' They didn't really work all that well. We know of course, for example, about the abuse of the Commuter Car Park Program, where, for commuter car parks, some $65 million in the electorate of Kooyong was promised.
That, of course, just disappeared, because in some cases they were promising commuter car parks where there weren't actually train stations for commuters to get on the train at!
But the government, indeed, as part of the review, has indicated—and I can confirm—that a decision has been made by our expenditure review process to not proceed with the $18 million that was allocated for the Australian Future Leaders Program. It was, I must say, a program that, in terms of scrutiny of the details that were there, in our view was not worthy of proceeding with, and which was also to receive $4 million in recurrent funding in perpetuity.
The fact is that we have inherited a trillion dollars of Liberal Party debt, and therefore we have had to make some difficult decisions. The Governor-General was an advocate of this program. I make no criticism of the Governor-General whatsoever and I indeed informed the Governor-General of my government's position, as a matter of courtesy to him and as a matter of respect for him.
But we will be going through, line by line, getting rid of the rorts and waste that dominated the budget and that were a part of the trillion dollars of Liberal Party debt. We also know that, whether it was sports rorts, whether it was commuter car park rorts—the so-called pork-and-ride scheme—or whether it was other programs, they were addicted: they were addicted to abuse of taxpayer funds. This government intends to deliver for taxpayers, not—