Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Damning report says sports rorts scandal went all the way to the top



Download PDFDownload PDF

SENATOR DON FARRELL

SHADOW SPECIAL MINISTER OF STATE

SHADOW MINISTER FOR SPORT AND TOURISM

SHADOW MINISTER ASSISTING THE LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION

SENATOR ANTHONY CHISHOLM

SENATOR FOR QUEENSLAND

CHAIR OF SELECT COMMITTEE ON ADMINISTRATION OF SPORTS

GRANTS

SENATOR NITA GREEN

SENATOR FOR QUEENSLAND

DAMNING REPORT SAYS SPORTS RORTS SCANDAL WENT ALL THE

WAY TO THE TOP

Scott Morrison’s office knew before the first Community Sport Infrastructure

grant was announced that projects were being identified for funding based on

marginal and target seat status, the Senate Select Committee on Administration

of Sports Grants has found today.

Despite being hindered by a Morrison Government cover-up in overdrive, the

Senate inquiry found:

• The Prime Minister’s office, and likely the Prime Minister, were aware of

the use of electorate information to identify projects in marginal and

targeted electorates well before the first grant recipient was announced.

• The parallel assessment undertaken by the then Sport Minister’s office

drew upon considerations of electorate status, and whether a project was

in a marginal or targeted seat for the Liberal and National party election

campaigns.

The Committee has made nine recommendations, including:

• That Scott Morrison provide a full explanation to the Parliament of his

involvement in the rorted program; and

• That the Government fund all projects recommended for grants by Sport

Australia but rejected in favour of projects in marginal Coalition-held

seats and Labor-held seats the Government was targeting at the 2019

election.

Scott Morrison owes hundreds of community sports clubs an apology, an

explanation, and the funding his Government redirected into its industrial-scale

Sports Rorts pork-barrelling scheme.

By failing to fund the clubs, councils and community organisations it wronged,

despite both the Prime Minister and the Treasurer saying that is what they

would do, the Morrison Government has shown that it only supports grassroots

sport when there’s a political benefit.

By arguing that it did nothing wrong in rejecting hundreds of worthy projects that

Sport Australia independently assessed and recommended, the Morrison

Government has badly damaged public faith in the administration of grants.

And by ignoring the evidence of multiple legal experts that the then Minister had

no legal authority to be the decisions maker on the grants, the Government has

demonstrated that it only believes in the rule of law when it suits its purposes.

Scott Morrison thinks he can wriggle out of any wrongdoing through spin, denial

and blame shifting.

He shifted blame to Senator McKenzie in a failed attempt to hide his own

involvement.

This report leaves no doubt that the Prime Minister’s office knew grants were

being awarded on the basis of whether projects were in marginal or target

seats.

The saying goes that a fish rots from the head down. Now we know the

Morrison Government rorts from the head down, and it stinks.

THURSDAY, 18 MARCH 2021

MEDIA CONTACT: TOM ZED 0419 227 286

______

LIST OF RECOMMENDATIONS

Recommendation 1

The committee recommends that Sport Australia significantly improve

communication with applicants, both successful and unsuccessful, and ensure

clear and timely reasons for decisions are provided.

Recommendation 2

The committee recommends the Australian Government immediately fund in full

all projects that were assessed as meritorious and recommended by Sport

Australia, but dismissed in the final ministerial funding decisions.

Recommendation 3

The committee recommends the Australian Government develop and

implement a coordinated national policy framework for community sport

infrastructure, to facilitate:

greater collaboration between community sport agencies at Commonwealth,

state and local levels for community sports infrastructure programs;

a streamlined approach to administering community sports grants schemes,

including a process for notifying all community sports clubs and organisations of

opportunities to apply for grants and other support; and

the sharing of information from state facility audits and other sources to

underpin a coordinated, longer-term process based on an audit of needs rather

than the current ad hoc approach by different jurisdictions.

Recommendation 4

The committee recommends that the Australian Sports Commission Act 1989

be reviewed to clarify the authority of the minister in relation to grant approvals.

The committee also recommends the Australian Government consider a

broader review of other relevant statutory bodies and agencies with the power

to grant funds.

Recommendation 5

The committee recommends the Australian Sports Commission (ASC) make

governance training mandatory for the ASC Board and all officers involved in

grant administration within Sport Australia to ensure they are cognisant of their

powers, responsibilities and duties under law.

Recommendation 6

The committee recommends that the Prime Minister provide a full explanation

to the Parliament of the role he, his office, and if applicable, Liberal and/or

National Campaign Headquarters played in the allocation of grants under the

CSIG program.

Recommendation 7

The committee recommends that the Australian Government ensure the ANAO

has the requisite level of resourcing it needs to properly scrutinise government

expenditure and activities.

Recommendation 8

The committee recommends that the Australian Government establish a

national integrity commission with the standing powers of a Royal Commission

as a matter of urgency.

Recommendation 9

The committee recommends the Senate adopt a resolution requiring the

production of the following documents: That the Senate orders that there be laid

on the table by the Minister for Sport no later than 10.00am on 12 May 2021,

the following documents:

• the legal advice given to the board of Sport Australia relating to funding

decisions under the CSIG program;

• the full unredacted list of grant applicants as they relate to Sport

Australia’s assessment scores and comments;

• the full list of applications recommended for funding by Sport Australia,

regardless of whether that recommendation was later changed;

• the talking points memo prepared by staff within Senator McKenzie’s

office for her meeting with the Prime Minister on 28 November 2018; and

• any other relevant documents including attachments, spreadsheets and

briefs.

• That the Senate orders that there be laid on the table by the Minister

representing the Prime Minister no later than 10.00am on 12 May 2021

the Gaetjens report and any documents used to inform the report.