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The Bridget McKenzie scandal continues to grow, as it seems the list of priority funding was already confirmed before her office changed it.
According to Fairfax, Bridget McKenzie joined the feted Wangaratta Clay Target Club a mere four days “before her office sent a list to Sport Australia recommending projects it wanted to share in the federal government’s $100 million fund.”
The particular stick in everyone’s caw is the timing, as it seems that Sport Australia (who administered the program) finalised a list of their priority projects the day McKenzie visited the club.
As Rob Harris noted, “…evidence gathered during an audit of the scheme found just 20 minutes after Sport Australia lodged its recommendation with the Department of Health in January last year, it withdrew the list because Senator McKenzie’s office had advised, ‘there may be a late change to the submission’.”
Wind the clock forward to January 29 and McKenzie’s office submitted a new list of 236 projects to Sport Australia, and apparently only 73 of them were already approved by Sport Australia’s merit-based criteria.
The continuation of McKenzie’s career hinges on the findings of Scott Morrison’s Morrison is waiting for his secretary, Phil Gaetjens, to rule on whether Senator McKenzie breached the standards all minsters are held to.
Harris then discovered that “the sport’s body then revised its recommendations as a result, dumping 36 projects and adopting all but four of those Senator McKenzie’s office had asked to be funded, approving them in early February. The Wangaratta club was on the list and received almost $36,000.”
As it stands, the continuation of McKenzie’s career hinges on the findings of Scott Morrison’s Morrison is waiting for his secretary, Phil Gaetjens, to rule on whether Senator McKenzie breached the standards all minsters are held to.
According to the code of ministerial conduct, elected officials are required to declare any changes in (or to) these interests within 28 days.
“Failure to declare or register a relevant and substantive personal interest as required by the Parliament constitutes a breach of these standards,” the code states.