Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Senator Bob Day: Turnbull's $2 million man



Download PDFDownload PDF

SENATOR THE HON DOUG CAMERON SHADOW MINISTER FOR HOUSING AND HOMELESSNESS SHADOW MINISTER FOR SKILLS AND APPRENTICESHIPS SENATOR FOR NEW SOUTH WALES

SENATOR BOB DAY - TURNBULL’S $2 MILLION MAN

Documents released under Freedom of Information show that Senator Bob Day personally lobbied the Turnbull Government for a $2 million grant on behalf of a training company of which he is a director.

The grant - confirmed last December but not finalised until earlier this year - is for a project that would see unpaid apprentices take out VET-FEE HELP loans and survive on youth allowance for four years. Under Senator Day’s plan, apprentices would receive no wages and any on-the-job training would be unpaid “work experience”.

Host employers for the “work experience” component would pay Senator Day’s company a “placement fee”.

As a result of Senator Day’s lobbying, the Turnbull government gave Senator Day’s Adelaide based North East Vocational College over $2 million - $600,000 more than he asked for.

The Day grant was among three grants made for apprenticeship pilot projects. The other two went to Master Builders Australia and National Electrical and Communications Association.

In answer to a Senate question on notice about the grants, the Minister for Education and Training, Senator Birmingham said unequivocally, “I have not met with MBA, NECA or North East Vocational College about the program.”

Yet a departmental brief among the documents released under FOI shows that Minister Birmingham met with Senator Day on 1 June 2015. According to the brief, Senator Day presented his “Student Builder” proposal to Senator Birmingham, who at the time was Assistant Minister for Education and Training.

It is inconceivable why Minister Birmingham would attempt to mislead the Senate in an answer to a question on notice when he had met a sitting Senator with a clear, direct interest in obtaining a government grant and upon whom the Turnbull Government relies so heavily for support in the Senate.

Does Minister Birmingham find Senator Day so forgettable?

The process surrounding the grant to Senator Day’s training company, the fact that a sitting Senator was lobbying the Minister for a grant on his own behalf and the fact that the Government is clearly relying on Senator Day’s continued presence in the Senate raises serious probity questions.

TUESDAY, 1 NOVEMBER 2016

MEDIA CONTACT: LUKE WHITINGTON: 0422 265 775