Senate debates

Thursday, 3 September 2020


Community Sport Infrastructure Grant Program; Order for the Production of Documents

12:54 pm

Photo of Janet RiceJanet Rice (Victoria, Australian Greens) Share this | Hansard source

I am seeking to suspend standing orders so that we can get this OPD voted on today so that the information that was revealed at last night's meeting is there for the public to be able to realise the extent that this government has been rorting the program. Going back to the chronology, which we learned about only last night—this is why it's urgent—the day before the scheduled meeting with the Prime Minister, former Minister McKenzie met with her staff to prepare for that meeting. We found out last night that, as part of that preparation, there was a four-page set of talking points that were prepared for Senator McKenzie which focused on how many extra projects in marginal and targeted electorates would be funded if the program was increased to $100 million. These talking points are one of the documents that we are seeking to have with this OPD.

We need to see these talking points. We need to have them laid on the table. All of Australia needs to see them, especially the mums and dads who gave their all to putting in applications for the incredibly worthy projects that didn't get funded through this grants program—that missed out because the Minister for Sport and the Prime Minister were colluding on how to rort the program to buy votes. That meeting between Minister McKenzie and the Prime Minister actually didn't end up taking place until 28 November, but then, just days after the meeting, surprise, surprise, the program gets extra funding. Then there was a letter exchanged that specifically referred to an agreement in that meeting. We need to see that letter.

We also learned last night that, on 4 March—just two months out from the election—the Prime Minister's office asked McKenzie's office for information about the unfunded projects, including which ones had coalition MPs lobbying for them. The Prime Minister is up to his neck in this, and we need to see this information so that it is absolutely clear to the people of Australia how much it is. The government needs to come clean. The Prime Minister needs to come clean about his role in rorting this grants program, and we need to see all the documentation of how this occurred. This whole affair stinks to high heaven, and the longer there is a delay in sharing this critical information, the longer this stink is going to hang around.


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