Showing posts with label Liberal Party of Australia. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Liberal Party of Australia. Show all posts

Saturday, 15 December 2018

Quotes of the Week

“If you want to know what caused those conditions, I’ll give you an answer – it’s called climate change,” the Queensland premier told reporters. “It is only the LNP who could watch Queensland burn and then blame the trees.”  [Queensland Premier Anna Palaszczuk quoted in The Guardian, 7 December 2018]

“Last year, more Australians bought their seventh home than those who bought their first”  [Journalist Timothy Swanston quoting an incorrect statment by Queensland Minister for Housing and Public Works Mick de Brenni, ABC News, 8 December 2018]

 Most people just consider Assange a spoilt-brat egomaniac with murky motives, a limelight habit and some profoundly questionable political affiliations.”  [Journalist Elizabeth Farrelly writing in The Sydney Morning Herald, 8 December 2018]

“Both Brandis and Turnbull were regularly labelled, and probably were what passes for, ‘moderates’ in the neoliberal alt-right nativist populist Trumpist tribal world, or whatever white patriarchy is called these days.”  [Academic and blogger Ingrid Matthews writing in oecomuse, 27 November 2018]

“Scott Morrison reminds me of a belligerent & angry Sunday School teacher. Protected by his Christian reputation but in reality just a nasty, angry, vengeful man”  [Elizabeth Marr on Twitter, 9 December 2018]

Thursday, 13 December 2018

Yet another Frydenberg ministerial blunder disclosed which is still reverberating

The Guardian, 11 December 2018:

The Australian government has permitted the export of hundreds of rare and endangered parrots to a German organisation headed by a convicted kidnapper, fraudster and extortionist, despite concerns the birds could be sold at a huge profit.

An investigation by Guardian Australia has revealed that the Berlin-based Association for the Conservation of Threatened Parrots received permission to export 232 birds between 2015 and November 2018 – more than 80% of all the live native birds legally exported from Australia in the same period.

The exports include threatened species such as Carnaby’s and Baudin’s black cockatoos, worth tens of thousands of dollars each.

The head of the ACTP, Martin Guth, has multiple criminal convictions, including a five-year jail sentence for hostage-taking, extortion and attempted fraud in 1996. In 2009 Guth was sentenced to one year and eight months in prison for seven cases of fraud. In one incident Guth kidnapped two men and threatened to cut their fingers off unless they paid a large sum of money.

A six-month Guardian investigation has found:

·    Export permits for Australian birds specified they were for exhibition purposes only, but ACTP has no facility that is freely open to the public.

·    Export permits prohibited the sale of the birds or their offspring, but private messages on social media reveal native Australian birds apparently from ACTP have been offered for sale for hundreds of thousands of dollars. The German federal agency for nature conservation has said it was aware of those offers.

The Australian government was repeatedly warned of concerns about ACTP by international wildlife authorities, private breeders and the government MP Warren Entsch.

International conservation bodies and scientists have raised questions about the organisation’s activities in other countries, including Dominica, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Brazil.

ACTP does not publish its financial records and is not registered with any major international zoological association.

Concerns about ACTP in Australia were raised with the former environment minister and now treasurer, Josh Frydenberg, and the office of the former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull, as well as the environment department. But the government has continued to allow the exports. The latest shipment of 64 birds to ACTP was approved on 12 November.

In December 2017 the government brokered a deal with ACTP that involved the organisation giving $200,000 to the Western Australian government for projects to protect the endangered western ground parrot.

In response to questions from Guardian Australia, the office of the threatened species commissioner, Sally Box, said no such deal would have been reached had it known of Guth’s record…..

Guth’s criminal convictions do not relate to his involvement with ACTP. But the investigation raises serious questions about the oversight of exports of native species from Australia, and the due diligence conducted by international wildlife authorities on a group that has acquired one of the largest collections of rare and endangered parrots in the world.

The Australian parrots, which were bought openly and legally by ACTP from local breeders and birdkeepers, were exported after the environment department agreed to recognise the organisation as a zoo in 2015.

Documents show ACTP obtained a licence to operate as a zoo in Germany in 2014, only months before its application to Australian authorities.

The organisation told the Australian government it ran numerous centres in Germany. None are freely open to the public. Its main premises at Tasdorf, a village 30km outside Berlin, displays no public information other than a mobile phone number. Its location is not advertised and the buildings display no opening hours nor any other indication that the public is welcome to visit….

Germany’s Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN) has confirmed to Guardian Australia it was aware that glossy black cockatoos imported from Australia by ACTP had been offered for sale. It said it had looked into the offers and found the birds had been legally imported and bred, and there were no limits on trade.

But under the terms of ACTP’s Australian permits, the animals and their offspring could only be moved to recognised zoos…. [my yellow highlighting]

Tuesday, 11 December 2018

Just three months out from a state election and the NSW Berejiklian Government decides to introduce a new punative public housing policy guaranteed to upset a good many voters

In 2016 est. 37,715 people in New South Wales were recorded as homeless on Census Night.

The following year the NSW Berejiklian Coalition Government had a public housing stock total of 110,221 dwellings and an est. 60,000 people on the Dept. of Housing 2017 waiting list.

Below is the state government’s answer to the effects of decreasing public housing stock and federal Coalition Government cuts to public housing funding allocations to the states - introduce a new initiative under the 'Opportunity Pathways' program which will cut the housing waiting list by increasing eligibility restrictions, privatise service delivery to certain categories of public housing applicants and tenants in order to ensure that vulnerable individuals and families are discouraged from seeking housing assistance.

The Daily Telegraph, 7 December 2018, p.2:

Public housing applicants will have to get a job if they want a taxpayer-funded home under a tough new test to be introduced in NSW.

The state government is overhauling the public housing system by stopping residents who languish on welfare for decades feeling entitled to a cheap home, paid for by the taxpayer, for their entire life.

Currently less than a quarter of social housing tenants are in the workforce. There are about 55,000 people on the public housing waitlist in NSW, and under the new program they will be able to skip the queue if they agree to get a job.

But if they get into the home then fail to get a job or maintain work they will be booted from the property.

Once they are secure in a job they will then move into the private rental market and out of the welfare system.

Social Housing Minister Pru Goward said the program will “help break the cycle of disadvantage”.

“This is about equipping tenants with the skills they need to not only obtain a job, but keep it over the longer term and achieve their full potential,” she said.

“We also want to set to a clear expectation that social housing is not for life and, for those who can work, social housing should be used as a stepping stone to moving into the private rental market.” The new program will be trialled in Punchbowl and Towradgi, near Wollongong, for three years across 20 properties. Its success will be evaluated over this time and it’s likely the program will be expanded across the state.

Homes will be leased for six months at a time, with renewal dependent on the resident maintaining their job or education, such as TAFE, and meeting agreed goals within the plan.

RFT Type Expression of Interest for Specific Contracts
Published 23-Aug-2018
Closes 27-Sep-2018 2:00pm
Category (based on UNSPSC)
93140000 - Community and social services
Agency FACS Central Office

Tender Details

The NSW Department of Family and Community Services (FACS) is seeking Expressions of Interest (EOI) from non-government organisatons with the capability to deliver the Opportunity Pathways program.

Opportunity Pathways is designed for social housing tenants and their household members, approved social housing applicants and clients receiving Rent Choice subsidies who aspire and have the capacity to, with the appropriate support, gain, retain and increase employment.

The program is voluntary and uses a person-centred case management approach to provide wrap-around support and facilitate participant access to services to achieve economic and housing independence (where appropriate).

The objectives of the program are to:

assist participants to gain, retain or increase employment, by accessing supports and practical assistance, and by participating in education, training and work opportunities
encourage and support participants to positively exit social housing or Rent Choice subsidies to full housing independence, to reduce their reliance on governement assistance, where appropriate

Please refer to the Program Guidelines for further details.

Opportunity Pathways will run for three years and delivered across NSW in those locations where a need and service gaps are identified.

The program will be delivered by one or more providers following an EOI and Select Tender.

NSW Regions: Far North Coast, Mid North Coast, New England, Central Coast, Hunter, Cumberland/Prospect, Nepean, Northern Sydney, Inner West, South East Sydney, South West Sydney, Central West, Orana/Far West, Riverina/Murray, Illawarra, Southern Highlands

Estimated Value
From $0.00 to $36,100,000.00

RFT Type
Expression of Interest for Specific Contracts - An invitation for Expression of Interest (EOI) for pre-registration of prospective tenderers for a specific work or service. Applicants are initially evaluated against published selection criteria, and those who best meet the required criteria are invited to Tender (as tender type Pre-Qualified/Invited). [my yellow highlighting]

As of June 2018 in NSW there were 200,564 people registered with Centrelink whose income was Newstart Allowance and, by September there were only est. 82,400 job vacancies available as the Internet Vacancy Index had been falling since April 2018. The number of job vacancies were still falling in October 2018 to 66,000 job vacancies.

Just three months out from a state election and it doesn't appear that the Berejiklian Cabinet or other Liberal and Nationals members of the NSW Parliament have thought this new policy through to its logical conclusion.

Tuesday, 4 December 2018

The Liberal Party of Australia continues a prolonged and very public evisceration of its own body

The Sydney Morning Herald, 2 December 2018:

Craig Kelly walked into the Engadine Gymnastics Club on Sunday night a man under pressure.

The embattled Liberal Party backbencher spotted a group of local politicians who had also been invited to hand out awards to excited children. The group included Lee Evans, a Liberal member of the NSW Parliament, and Carmelo Pesce, the Liberal mayor of the Sutherland Shire Council.

Kelly put out his hand to greet the mayor. Pesce put his hand behind his back.
"You're a f---ing prick!" Kelly shouted at Pesce. "Are you f---ing kidding me? You're not going to f---ing shake my hand?"

Pesce refused to speak but Kelly - who had spent much of Sunday trying to save his career - didn't take the hint: "What? Do you mean you're not going to f---ing shake my hand."

Pesce relented and told Kelly he could not stomach the thought of shaking his hand.

"You're a disgrace for what you're doing to the party," Pesce told Kelly.

"You're the disgrace," Kelly shot back. Gymnastics coach Graham Spooner intervened and told the men to cool it. So did Evans.

Kelly confirmed the encounter when contacted by Fairfax Media on Sunday night but declined to comment. Pesce refused to talk but Evans confirmed the exchange: "This is not how you behave in public," he said of Kelly.

The incident capped off another bad day for Kelly and the Liberal Party, which is riven by bad blood and infighting ahead of a federal election next year.

Just a few hours earlier Kelly thought a deal had been done to save him from losing a preselection challenge by local councillor Kent Johns for his safe southern Sydney seat of Hughes.

A preselection defeat would be a disaster for Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who needs to keep Kelly's conservative faction happy and do whatever it takes to keep the unpredictable backbencher from shifting to the crossbench.

A plan was hatched over the weekend to fix it all. Morrison's powerbrokers decided the best way to handle a tough preselection fight was to cancel the preselection altogether. The NSW Liberal Party's 23-member state executive would be asked to use its emergency powers to automatically endorse all sitting MPs, including Kelly.

The proposal initially received the support of some members of the moderate faction, who loathe Kelly for his role in the demise of Malcolm Turnbull but were prepared to suck it up for Morrison and party unity.

But as the day went on the backlash grew. Several moderate state executive members resisted enormous pressure from some of the most senior figures in the Morrison government to get on board and save Kelly. By 5pm it was clear the plan to cancel preselections would never get through the state executive. Kelly would likely have to face preselection after all - a reality that hit just before he strode into the Engadine Gymnastics Club.

An intervention by Malcolm Turnbull proved crucial. Turnbull hit the roof when he found out about the peace proposal and telephoned state executive members, including Matt Kean, a minister in Gladys Berejiklian's government, to urge them to vote against it.

Turnbull couldn't believe Kelly and his conservative allies were backing a plan to suspend preselections when they'd campaigned so hard over recent years for reforms to give grassroots members more power in selecting candidates.

In a series of tweets, the former prime minister went public: "It has been put to me that Mr Kelly has threatened to go to the crossbench and 'bring down the government'. If indeed he has made that threat, it is not one that should result in a capitulation. Indeed it would be the worst and weakest response to such a threat.

"It is time for the Liberal Party members in Hughes to have their say about their local member and decide who they want to represent them."

Turnbull felt he had no choice but to reveal he got involved on Sunday because News Corp publications were preparing to publish stories he believed did not reflect what actually went on.…..

Former Prime Minister Malcolm Bligh Turnbull serving up a cold dish of political revenge on the parliamentary party which sacked him as leader......

What Rupert Murdoch’s The Australian reported on 2 December 2018:

Malcolm Turnbull yesterday urged senior Liberal Party figures to defy Scott Morrison by voting against a plan to prevent conservative MP Craig Kelly losing preselection, saying the Prime Minister just wanted to “keep his arse” in his prime ministerial car as long as possible.

The brazen power play was calculated to trigger an early federal election, with Mr Turnbull claiming such a move would help the Berejiklian government avoid facing an anti-Coalition backlash and losing office in March.

Mr Turnbull urged several moderates, including NSW minister Matt Kean who is on the Liberal state executive, to repudiate Mr Morrison by voting against the deal to save Mr Kelly, which would prompt him to become an independent MP.

The ousted prime minister told Mr Kean that if Mr Kelly moved to the 
crossbench it would “force Morrison to an early election and that will save the Berejiklian government”.

“We should force Scott to an early election because all he’s about is keeping his arse on C1”, Mr Turnbull said, referring to the prime minister’s commonwealth car.

Mr Turnbull told Mr Kean that he and Mr Morrison in government had agreed to go to an election on March 2 — three weeks before the NSW government election — but the Prime Minister was now reneging.

The moderates on the executive should not support Mr Kelly as a “matter of principle” as Mr Kelly was the “most destructive member of the government”, Mr Turnbull told Mr Kean, adding that there was “no bigger climate change denier than Craig Kelly, apart from Tony Abbott”.

Mr Kelly, the member for ­Hughes, led the backbench ­revolt against Mr Turnbull’s ­national energy guarantee, in a rearguard action that forced the policy to be dumped, precipitating the then prime minister’s downfall.

But Mr Kean said he was going to resist Mr Turnbull’s call and vote on principle to save the federal government….

Read the full article here.

Another Liberal Party hard right troglodyte 'threatens' the ailing party......

WA Today, 2 December 2018:

Senator Jim Molan has slammed the preselection process which saw him relegated to an unwinnable spot on the NSW Senate ticket and warned he is "not to be taken for granted" if Prime Minister Scott Morrison doesn't intervene to save his political career.

Speaking on Perth radio on Sunday, Senator Molan said he had been courted by other parties, but would stick with the Liberal Party for now.....

"I'll stay with the Liberal Party, but I'm not to be taken for granted within the Liberal Party."

He would not say if he had spoken to Mr Morrison about the possibility of an intervention, but said the Prime Minister was "smart enough to work that out".

Sunday, 2 December 2018

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s poor judgment on show again

Just because Scott Morrison’s maternal grandfather and mother were New Zealand citizens and he lived in that country for a few years as an adult, did he really have to wish this NZ political disaster zone on Australia?

BuzzFeed, 29 November 2018:

In a speech to the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Wednesday night, prime minister Scott Morrison announced Steven Joyce would head the first national vocational education review in more than 40 years…..

Joyce is a former New Zealand National MP who was given the nickname "Mr Fixit" (making him the Kiwi equivalent of our very own Christopher "I'm a Fixer" Pyne) during his time in politics.

He served as the tertiary education minister for about seven years (January 2010 to December 2016) and was the architect of former prime minister John Key's massive cuts to training programs across the country.

During his first four years on the job Joyce cut more than $60 million from regional and urban training centres, according to New Zealand's Tertiary Education Commission data…..

Sandra Grey, president of New Zealand's Tertiary Education Union, said Joyce's time as minister was a "real disaster for New Zealand".

"The real cost of his cuts is a $3 billion shortfall over the 10 years just gone," Grey told BuzzFeed News. "A $3 billion hole... we're never going to fill that. That's where the strain on staff and students comes. He chose to keep the budget flatlined but it cost more and more each year to run the sector."

Figures from the New Zealand Treasury confirm the Key's government budget left the sector more than $3 billion underfunded by not increasing year on year expenses in line with CPI.

Saturday, 1 December 2018

Quotes of the Week

“Some say the Liberal Party is dead and personally I do not care whether it is or not. Something will rise, phoenix-like, from its trust fund trash ashes. My kids and I have survived a helluva a lot of vicious Liberal Party policy, and will again. But if the Liberal Party is dead, I will be the first to dance on its grave. Good riddance, horrible people.”   [Academic and blogger Ingrid Matthews writing in oecomuse, 27 November 2018]

"The parliament is part time under this prime minister, but the civil war in the Liberal Party is a full-time occupation."  [Opposition Leader & Labor MP for Maribyrnong Bill Shorten, House of Representatives Hansard, 29 November 2018]

Tuesday, 27 November 2018

Morrison goes full Trump and democracy begins to suffer

Channel 9 News online, 22 November 2018:

Scott Morrison insists police need immediate access to encrypted messages to stop future terror attacks.

The prime minister says new laws giving police access to the messages must pass federal parliament in the final sitting fortnight of the year, after three men charged with plotting a terror attack in Melbourne were accused of using encrypted communications.

"Our police, our agencies need these powers now," Mr Morrison told reporters in Sydney on Thursday.

"I would insist on seeing them passed before the end of the next sitting fortnight."
He said the foiled Melbourne plot showed it was incredibly important for authorities to have powers to intercept encrypted messages on apps like WhatsApp.

Mr Morrison urged the committee examining the laws to wind-up its review as soon as possible so the laws can be passed.

The Liberal-chaired committee has scheduled three public hearings on the bill, with the final one set for December 4 - two days before parliament rises for the year.
To pass the encryption legislation before then, the Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security would likely have to bring forward or abandon the hearings.

The next Encryption Bill public hearings are scheduled for 27 November, 30 November and 4 December 2018. In addition to evidence from the full five hearings there are 87 submissions the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security needs to evaluate before writing its report to Parliament.

Both Prime Minster Scott Morrison and Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton are reportedly applying pressure to the Joint Committee to throw out standard parliamentary practice and deliver its report no later than 3 December.

It appears that both theses hard-right politicians are determined to kill off democratic processes whenever they see an opportunity to do so.

Monday, 26 November 2018

Morrison Government looks at women's economic security and domestic violence

This was an Australian Morrison Coalition Government announcement mentioned in the media on 19 November 2018:

“Women experiencing domestic and family violence will now also be able to apply for early access to part of their superannuation to help cover the significant costs of rebuilding their lives….Good Shepherd Microfinance’s No Interest Loan scheme will help women at risk of domestic violence access finance when they most need it, without high interest holding back their financial recovery into the future. The loans will be able to assist with relocation, essential household items, rental bonds, or, where appropriate, debt consolidation….”  [Australian Government “Women’s Economic Security Statement”, excerpt, November 2018]

Bearing in mind that although the husband’s superannuation entitlements are considered property of the marriage these funds cannot be anticipated ahead of any court sanctioned property settlement in a divorce.

This was the situation in June 2018 according to the Australian Government Workplace Gender Equality Agency:
Women comprise 47.0% of all employed persons in Australia; 25.0% of all employed persons are women working full-time, and 21.9% are women working part-time.

Women constitute 36.7% of all full-time employees and 69.0% of all part-time employees.

Average superannuation balances for women at retirement (aged 60-64) are 42.0% lower than those for men.

According to ASFA Research and Resource Centre, in the financial year 2015-16:

* Looking at all females aged 15 years and over the superannuation balance averaged out at $68,499 per person.

* Only 16 per cent of females had superannuation balances of over $100,000.

* When it came to all women aged 30-35 years of age the superannuation balance averaged out at $33,750 per person.

* However, 32.7 per cent of all females in the workforce reported they had no superannuation at all. That’s an estimated 2 million women Australia-wide.

When it comes to that 2 million women without super it is probably safe to assume that; a) the majority form part of the casualised workforce; b) most receive the minimum wage or less; and c) a significant number live in regional and rural areas.

A good many may also be from socially marginalised groups.

Somehow I can’t quite see that a woman being able to access part of her superannuation, or in lieu of super being able to take out a meagre $1,500 interest free loan which has to be repaid, as being of much assistance when fleeing life-threatening violence.

Not while first contact domestic violence services she attempts to access - along with DV emergency accommodation - are so chronically under resourced across the country.

A word of advice to the Morrison Government from Fiona the Bettong; Just shut up about it and fund it - just do your job and fund it - we know your every word is a lie so shhhhh just fund it.

Looking straight at you, Nationals MP for Page Kevin Hogan. Act like a real man and get domestic violence services in the Northern Rivers region more funding - structured to increase annually - guaranteed for the next ten years. 

Saturday, 24 November 2018

Tweets of the Week

Friday, 23 November 2018

This was Australia’s faux prime minister Scott Morrison proudly pointing out that he had been fundraising at considerable taxpayer expense

This was Australia’s faux prime minister Scott Morrison proudly pointing out that he had been fundraising at considerable taxpayer expense in order to fill the election campaign coffers of the the Liberal Party of Australia.....

The Courier-Mail, 19 November 2018, p.6:

While he was on the Queensland blitz early this month, Mr Morrison confirmed he attended fundraisers. Many of the donations came from Rockhampton and the Sunshine Coast.

“I’m meeting with supporters all around Queensland and I don’t make any apologies for that,” he said.

“We’re raising funds for our campaign to make sure Bill Shorten never becomes prime minister in the country.” Mr Morrison was the special guest at Liberal National Party fundraising events in several ­regional towns.

Here is what he was not boasting about this month……

The Saturday Paper, 17-23 November 2018:

Seven years before he was sacked as managing director of Tourism Australia – amid serious concerns about his management practices – Scott Morrison was the subject of criticism in a New Zealand audit report examining his activities as head of NZ’s Office of Tourism and Sport., 14 November 2018:

A 1999 New Zealand Auditor General’s report challenged the future Australian prime minister’s handling of an independent review of the Office of Tourism and Sport (OTSp) where he was managing director.

The OTSp was a quasi-independent body offering policy advice to the New Zealand government and experienced the loss of a number of board members and officials during Mr Morrison’s tenure. He finally resigned from the job in 2000 a year ahead of his contract schedule and returned to Australia….

During Mr Morrison’s time at the helm of OTSp in the 1990s, New Zealand’s then Tourism Minister, Murray McCully, praised his input and defended importing him for the job.

“Australia actually happens to do a bit better than we do out of both tourism and sport,” Mr McCully said at the time.

But the Auditor General and the NZ Labour Opposition questioned his performance.
In New Zealand in 1999, the Auditor General found Mr Morrison had launched a PriceWaterhouseCooper review of OTSp which precluded contributions from senior staff and the board.

He had said the review was independent of them, but it seems they were not aware of this.

“Mr Morrison’s explanation came as a surprise not only to (the office’s CEO and board members) but also to the Minister himself,” the report said.

“These people had regarded the PWC report as the review referred to in the purchase agreement.”

The Auditor General’s report said the board should have been told it had a duty,  under the review arrangements, to commission its own “independent” review.
“It seems that at no point did Mr Morrison do so,” the Auditor General found.

In June 2000, the New Zealand Herald quoted the Labour Opposition’s tourism and sport spokesman Trevor Mallard as blaming Mr Morrison for problems with the OTSp and the minister.

“And a key reason for that was that it was run by Mr Morrison, an Australian who was seen as Mr McCully’s ‘hard man’,” said the report.

“Australian standards of public sector behaviour ‘are lower than ours,’,” added Mr Mallard.

He was quoted as saying: “My experience with Australian politicians is that rules and ethics are not as important to them as they are to New Zealanders.”

Mr Morrison did not respond to the claims but was supported by the Tourism Minister as “highly regarded”.

He had lifted the energy levels and the competence levels substantially above those previously servicing tourism and sport, said Mr McCully.

Australian Labor is closely examining the Prime Minister’s career before he was elected to Parliament in 2007 and the New Zealand experience could be raised.

His next job after New Zealand was as NSW Liberal Party state director but was linked to the party’s 2003 election failure.

Mr Morrison became Tourism Australia managing director in 2004 but left in 2006, again ahead of schedule….

The Saturday Paper, 10-16 November 2018:

Ever since Scott Morrison was sacked from his job as managing director of Tourism Australia in 2006, the reasons for his dismissal have been kept secret.

At the time and since, public speculation has variously attributed the now prime minister’s removal to a personality clash with his minister, a falling out over changes to the organisation’s structure, and a dispute over the agency’s contentious “Where the bloody hell are you?” campaign.

But an auditor-general’s report completed 10 years ago, which has escaped public scrutiny until now, reveals that in the period leading up to Morrison’s dismissal, his agency faced a series of audits and a review of its contractual processes ordered by the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, amid serious concerns about its governance.

The auditor-general’s inquiry into Tourism Australia – which followed these reviews, and was conducted after Morrison’s departure – reveals information was kept from the board, procurement guidelines breached and private companies engaged on contracts worth $184 million before paperwork was signed and without appropriate value-for-money assessments.


The Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) report examines three major contracts that Tourism Australia signed while Scott Morrison was managing director. It criticises processes in all three cases but especially the contracts for global creative development – advertising campaigns – and media placement services.

Ten years since the audit, and 13 years since the contracts were signed, those two completed contracts appear not to be listed on the government’s AusTender website, where all contracts are required to be available for public viewing.

Searches, including by AusTender staff, have failed to locate them on the site this week. Procurement rules say they must be reported within 42 days of the contracts being entered. The 2005 request-for-tender documents announcing the proposed contracts are listed…..

The audit report criticises extensively the agency’s processes for drafting, executing and managing the contracts, the opaque accounting processes involved in aspects of them and poor communication with the board and regional offices, including by service providers. It details Tourism Australia’s failures at the time to adhere to guidelines – the signing of a contract without incorporating measurable performance indicators and non-existent risk assessments or value-for-money analysis.

Tabled in parliament on August 6, 2008, the report was one of more than 40 the Audit Office had produced in the previous 12 months.

It escaped public attention at least partly because it was not among the handful that parliament’s joint committee on public accounts chose to examine further in its role as chief audit scrutineer. At the time, the committee was chaired by then Labor MP Sharon Grierson with then Liberal MP Petro Georgiou as her deputy.

When the report was tabled, Morrison was a member of the public accounts committee, which was tasked with considering it for review. He resigned from the committee six weeks after the report was tabled and, it is understood, some months before the committee formally considered it. The Saturday Paper does not suggest Morrison influenced the audit’s treatment. Grierson says that as Tourism Australia had accepted its three recommendations, and nobody on the committee raised any issues, the report was not officially examined further – standard procedure in dealing with the volume of audits each year.

The Saturday Paper lodged detailed questions about the audit report with Morrison’s office but was told he was not able to answer them in the time available.

Performance reviews of the two key contracts between 2005 and 2007 – contained in the audit – revealed Tourism Australia had failed to disclose to its own board that it had underspent $3.9 million on one of the contracts in 2006-07.

It was found that in one case invoices had been raised before the contract was signed and that in another case the price paid in some areas of a contract was “more expensive than the benchmark”.

The audit report does not mention then tourism minister Fran Bailey’s sacking of Morrison in July 2006, nor any of the alleged preceding tension between them that has been the subject of public speculation since.

But The Saturday Paper understands the events and issues the audit report outlines played a significant role in Morrison’s removal. Unconfirmed news reports have since alleged that he received a payout of more than $300,000.

Asked to comment this week on the report’s contents in relation to Morrison’s dismissal, Bailey would only repeat the one comment she has made before: “I reiterate that it was a unanimous decision to get rid of Mr Morrison by the board and the minister.”

She added: “I have always treated confidential matters as confidential.”……

Read the full article here.

The Guardian, 18 November 2018:

The Morrison government has extended emergency three-month funding contracts to 16 more financial counselling, legal aid and charity groups to keep them open over the Christmas holiday period after it cut their funding with little warning.

The move was made without fanfare, logged quietly on the Department of Social Services website on Wednesday evening.

It comes as the social services minister, Paul Fletcher, faces continued criticism for his department’s decision to overhaul funding arrangements for key community services groups in the lead-up to Christmas.

In some cases, barely two months’ notice has been given to groups to prepare for dramatic cuts in the new year – a time of year when thousands of Australian families have traditionally needed more emergency assistance and financial counselling.

 On Wednesday evening, the Department of Social Services (DSS) released a document on its website saying it would extend emergency three-month funding contracts – covering the period 1 January 2019 to 31 March 2019 – to 16 organisations that had lost their funding in the latest round of grants:

FMC Relationship Services
Uniting (Victoria and Tasmania) Limited
VincentCare Victoria
Odyssey House, Victoria
Mallee Family Care Inc
Anglicare SA Ltd
Centacare Catholic Country SA Ltd
The Trustee for The Salvation Army (NSW) Property Trust
Southern Youth and Family Services Limited
Vietnamese Community in Australia NSW Chapter Inc
The Uniting Church in Australia Property Trust (Q.)
C Q Financial Counselling Association Inc.
Prisoners’ Legal Service Inc
Agencies for South West Accommodation Inc.
CentreCare Incorporated

Neither the government nor the department has drawn attention to the funding extensions……