Karl Stefanovic’s fiery clash with Peter Dutton over $100 million scandal
Fury continues to mount over the government’s sports funding scandal, with Peter Dutton coming up with an unconvincing defence as he faced Karl Stefanovic on breakfast television.
A damning report this week from the Auditor-General exposed the “biased” operation of a $100 million grants scheme that was manipulated a day before the election to funnel cash into marginal seats the Coalition desperately needed to win.
The minister for sport at the time, Bridget McKenzie disregarded advice from Sports Australia and decided to carve out her own process to award 684 payments in a manner that favoured knife-edge seats the government needed to win or was targeting.
Dutton appeared on the Today show this morning to defend the disgraced senator, saying she should not be sacked and insisted that no rules had been broken.
“That’s not the point,” Stefanovic fired back. “The point is that nine of the ten electorates awarded the most money were either marginal seats or ones the Coalition were hoping to win.
“I mean, that’s a damning figure. That is pork-barrelling of the highest order. It’s been stacked.”
An investigation uncovered that over 60 per cent of projects that received funding were not recommended by Sports Australia under the existing selection criteria.
“Applications from projects located in those electorates were more successful in being awared funding that if funding was allocated on the basis of merit assessed against the published program guidelines,” found Auditor-General Grant Hehir.
Furthermore, the applicants that Sports Australia did recommend was ignored, with Senator McKenzie’s office running its own “assessments”, revealed the audit.
“The important point is that the money has gone out, not against recommendations, not to clubs that weren’t deserving of it,” said Dutton.
But that statement contradicts what the Auditor-General had found, regarding Sports Australia’s recommendations being ignored by Senator McKenzie.
Stefanovic slammed the process as “just not fair” and highlighted the importance of an integrity and corruption body at a federal level.
“She’s done something wrong here and something needs to be done about her behaviour,” he said.
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