Daily Bulletin


Daily Bulletin

News

  • Written by Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra
Scott Morrison orders probe into whether Bridget McKenzie breached ministerial code

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has ordered the secretary of his department, Phil Gaetjens, to advise whether deputy Nationals leader Bridget McKenzie breached the ministerial code of conduct in the sports rorts affair.

A statement from the prime minister’s office on Wednesday night said Morrison had referred the highly critical auditor-general report to Gaetjens last Friday “for advice in relation to any actions in the application of the statement of ministerial standards”.

This referral was not announced at the time.

The statement also said media reports revealing McKenzie had approved a grant to a clay target shooting club without publicly disclosing her membership of it had also been referred to the department.

The audit report on the $100 million sports grants scheme found the “award of grant funding was not informed by an appropriate assessment process and sound advice”.

Read more: So the government gave sports grants to marginal seats. What happens now?

It said McKenzie, then sports minister, targeted marginal Coalition seats and Labor seats in the government’s sights in allocating grants before the election, rather than following the priority rating provided by the expert assessment process.

Nine newspapers revealed on Wednesday that McKenzie approved a $36,000 grant for the Wangaratta Clay Target Club without publicly disclosing she was a member of the club.

McKenzie was given membership when she visited the club in January last year before the grant was announced the following month. Her office has said she did not put her membership on the public parliamentary register because it was a gift and below the value set for disclosure.

Sources said that in June she declared in her ministerial statement of interests – which is private - her membership to several gun organisations, including the clay target association of which the Wangaratta club is an affiliate.

In his foreword to the statement of ministerial standards, Morrison says:

All parliamentarians are required to disclose private interests to the parliament.

Given the additional powers of Ministers and Assistant Ministers, I expect them to provide me with additional information about their private interests to ensure there are no conflicts with their roles as ministers.

The statement further says:

Ministers must declare and register their personal interests, including but not limited to pecuniary interests, as required by the Parliament from time to time.

Ministers must also comply with any additional requirements for declarations of interests to the Prime Minister as may be determined by the Prime Minister, and notify the Prime Minister of any significant change in their private interests within 28 days of its occurrence.

Failure to declare or register a relevant and substantive personal interest as required by the Parliament constitutes a breach of these Standards.

The code also stresses that “ministers must observe fairness in making official decisions … taking proper account of the merits of the matter”.

The Wednesday statement from the prime minister’s office said Morrison would “continue to follow due process”.

He has also asked Attorney-General Christian Porter to advise on the issue raised in the audit report of whether McKenzie actually had legal authority to make the decisions on the grants.

Read more: Nationals elect Bridget McKenzie as new deputy

Porter on Wednesday defended McKenzie, saying, “had Bridget McKenzie’s final approval process not gone into the mix, then less Labor electorates would have gotten the money”.

The opposition continued to call for her resignation or sacking.

Meanwhile, Morrison announced that the secretary of the health department, Glenys Beauchamp, will retire next month.

The Mandarin, noting Beauchamp has been a board member of the Australian Sports Commission, said the official date of her retirement, February 28, is immediately before Senate estimates hearings “where those with knowledge of the grants program will likely be questioned.”

Authors: Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra

Read more http://theconversation.com/scott-morrison-orders-probe-into-whether-bridget-mckenzie-breached-ministerial-code-130403

Writers Wanted

NBN upgrades explained: how will they make internet speeds faster? And will the regions miss out?

arrow_forward

Is fast-tracking funds to Foxtel the best way to support the media during COVID?

arrow_forward

The Conversation
INTERWEBS DIGITAL AGENCY

Politics

Did BLM Really Change the US Police Work?

The Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement has proven that the power of the state rests in the hands of the people it governs. Following the death of 46-year-old black American George Floyd in a case of ...

a Guest Writer - avatar a Guest Writer

Scott Morrison: the right man at the right time

Australia is not at war with another nation or ideology in August 2020 but the nation is in conflict. There are serious threats from China and there are many challenges flowing from the pandemic tha...

Greg Rogers - avatar Greg Rogers

Prime Minister National Cabinet Statement

The National Cabinet met today to discuss Australia’s COVID-19 response, the Victoria outbreak, easing restrictions, helping Australians prepare to go back to work in a COVID-safe environment an...

Scott Morrison - avatar Scott Morrison

Business News

Ten tips for landing a freelance transcription job

Transcription jobs are known to be popular in the field of freelancing. They offer fantastic job opportunities to a lot of people, but there are some scammers who wait to cheat the freelancers. ...

News Company - avatar News Company

How To Remove Rubbish More Effectively

It can be a big task to remove household rubbish. The hardest part is finding the best way to get rid of your junk. It can be very overwhelming to know exactly where to start with so many option...

News Company - avatar News Company

4 Tips To Pass Skills Certifications Tests

Developing the right set of skills is valuable not only to your career, but for life in general. You can get certified in these skills through obtaining a license. Without a certified license, y...

News Company - avatar News Company



News Company Media Core

Content & Technology Connecting Global Audiences

More Information - Less Opinion