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The hiring of Scott Cam was one of the more egregious moves of last year, but according to Michaelia Cash, we can’t ask questions about it.
Back in October, Scott Morrison decided to employ “successful tradie” Scott Cam of The Block fame.
“I want to see more Australians become plumbers, electricians and bakers than lawyers and consultants. I would like to see more of them going on to become their own boss,” he said.
“Scott Cam is proof that undertaking a trade can be a very valuable, rewarding and successful career choice, and there are plenty more who can tell a similar story to Scott…by learning a trade you’ll earn more, your skills will be in demand and you’ll help build our country and keep our economy strong,” he continued.
Per The New Daily, “Employment and Skills Minister Michaelia Cash said vocational education and training was key to building Australia’s future workforce. She said Mr Cam would help Australians at ‘all ages and stages’ to make informed decisions about learning, training and work. ‘Working with the National Careers Institute, Scott will make sure individuals and businesses can take advantage of the pathways on offer,’ she said.”
In the interim, the nation has come armed with questions. First, what Cam would be doing, and second, how much he’ll be paid for his services.
Eventually, an FOI request discovered that Cam would be paid $345,000 for the 15-month government contract. At the time, Michaelia Cash said that “…we have entered into commercial terms with Mr Cam but ultimately this about shining a light on vocational education and training in Australia.”
So far, so vague. However, things have taken a turn for the insane, as a freedom of information request raised by SBS journalist Brett Mason has returned a bristling refusal. Mason purportedly asked what Cam was expected to do, and how he was selected for the role, which Michaelia Cash denied outright.
Cash identified “25 documents (totalling 107 pages) held by the department which contain material relevant to your request”, before refusing the request without explanation, writing that she “decided to refuse you access in full to all 25 documents.”
It’s fair to say that our right to know in Australia is subject to a heavy caveat, relying on whether our elected officials choose to disclose how they’re spending our money.