Sports rorts back in the spotlight after PM drawn further into controversy – politics live | Australia news

Sports rorts is back in the spotlight, with the Senate inquiry into the government program up first thing this morning.

Sports Australia will appear at the committee today. This comes after the auditor general answered some questions on notice on the issue revealing 136 emails were exchanged between Bridget McKenzie’s office (as the then minister) and Scott Morrison’s office about the program, including one the day before the election was called.

Morrison has maintained that his involvement was limited to representations, and the auditor-general said it didn’t believe the prime minister was any more or less successful in those representations than anyone else.

But as Paul Karp reported yesterday, it’s not going to slow down:

Scott Morrison has been drawn further into the sports grants controversy after it was revealed his office exchanged 136 emails with the former sports minister Bridget McKenzie’s office about the program and one of the clubs in his electorate received funding despite being ineligible.

On Tuesday Labor pressed the issue on multiple fronts, as clubs that missed out came forward to complain to a Senate inquiry, and a Senate order for production of documents revealed Morrison attended an event at the Sans Souci Football Club, which was given $50,000 despite its project nearly having been completed.

Meanwhile, the government is also facing questions about how $10m, which was part of a program meant to help put pools and changing facilities in regional areas, ended up in a North Sydney pool complex.

It led to this exchange between Angus Taylor and an ABC Breakfast host over whether or not North Sydney was “regional”

Q: How would you describe North Sydney then?

Taylor: Well, North Sydney is like every other part of Australia – lots of kids…

Q: Is it regional? Is it rural?

Taylor: And adults who want to play sport and they need investment.

Q: Is it regional or rural, Mr Taylor?

Taylor: It’s clear – North Sydney is in Sydney. There’s no doubt about that .But my point is a broader one which is the one type of infrastructure investment that is very clearly in need of more investment and support from Government that I see again and again and again is sporting infrastructure. It’s hugely important.

Meanwhile, Jacqui Lambie has reiterated she will not negotiate with the government over its Ensuring Integrity bill, until it releases the Gaetjen’s report into sports rorts. Morrison will not do that. And so, you have a situation where most non-government senators are doing all they can to disrupt government business in the Senate, in a bid to force the government into releasing the report. We don’t know what Morrison’s former chief of staff turned departmental head looked at, how many versions of the colour-coded spreadsheets he examined, or who he talked to. We don’t know what it says – only what the prime minister says it says. That will most likely come up in the hearings as well.

We’ll have all of that and more as the day unfolds.


Let’s get into it.

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