London: The Morrison government will slash funding to the Commonwealth Secretariat in retaliation to a cronyism scandal that has sparked an international feud over the behaviour of its Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland.
Reported by Bevan Shields in The Sydney Morning Herald, in what must rank as one of the greatest travesties of modern times, the Morrison Government has found an example of cronyism and ‘jobs for mates’ that it just cannot live with.
Baroness Scotland is struggling to obtain a second term because of alleged cronyism, after an audit savaged her decision to waive usual tender rules, and give work worth nearly $500,000 to a firm run by a friend and colleague from the House of Lords.
The facts of this case bear an uncanny resemblance to the Bridget and Her Friends playbook, and the Morrison Government is outraged. It is withholding funds to the organisation “unless flaws in how it operates and hands out lucrative contracts are fixed.”
Sports Rorts and other Assorted Reports
Contrast our Government’s confected moral outrage over this tawdry affair, with its shameless handling of the Sports Rorts affair, discussed here https://askbucko.com/2020/01/22/cleaning-the-stables/. Not only did Morrison and his cabinet escape scrutiny over that matter, while sacrificing Bridget McKenzie for the equivalent of a parking infringement, but Morrison has also cast doubt on either the Auditor General’s impartiality, or on his competence.
He then appointed the head of the Australian Public Service, a man who had previously worked in Morrison’s office, to prepare another, competing report, just for him. This report is secret, although the Auditor’s report is public. Morrison has told us that his own report could find NO evidence of political bias when the sports grants were handed over. The reason for keeping the secret report secret is that it is a secret.
Further information has emerged of a huge, $150 million handout to hand-picked electorates on the eve of the last election, which is seemingly even more dishonest than the Sports Rorts Affair. What appeared at first as a series of small ‘gifts’ to those electorates has become a flood of taxpayers’ funds, directly torn from Consolidated Revenue, and funnelled into seats which were under electoral pressure, or targeted by the Government. This is not a conspiracy theory. This actually happened, and our money is currently being spent on these facilities, which are effectively gifts to hand-picked electorates. I know, I am repeating myself, because I find the sheer effrontery of the two programs to be so astounding, and wrong.
I must admit that I am surprised that Morrison has not jumped on a plane and gone to meet the Baroness, because they have a lot in common. She could become the next President of the Liberal Party, or even be head-hunted to lead the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet. The only problem seems to be that she thinks too small. She has only mishandled $500,000, rather than $100 million, but there is room for growth.
Last Minute Developments
In late, breaking news, Boris Johnson has signed up to Morrison’s crusade for honesty in Government, and will withdraw funds as well, from that terrible organisation in London which cannot be trusted.
Mr Gaetjens, the author of the secret report, has defended his report. In a bow to common decency(?) all public servants are now to be coached in integrity. Meanwhile the Integrity Commission is still stalled in Never Never Land.
This Government is now leading the world in ethical behaviour. Go figure.