Kristina Keneally, a spokesperson for the opposition's internal affairs, said on Thursday that the grant was “on the face of it worse than the sports funding scandal that led to the resignation of then Minister Bridget McKenzie a year ago”.
Although Dutton strongly denied any wrongdoing, Keneally stated that she had written to the Australian National Audit Office asking it to consider reviewing Dutton's handling of the Safe Community Fund.
ANAO is an independent agency that published a stern report on how sports funding is tilted toward marginal seats.The report eventually triggered McKenzie's resignation. The reason for McKenzie’s resignation was that she did not declare a conflict of interest and did not disclose that she was a member of a gun club that received funding for the project.
Keneally also questioned whether Dutton might have violated the ministerial guidelines, which require ministers to "comply with relevant standards of procedural fairness" and "ensure that the official decisions they make as ministers are not affected by prejudice or irrelevant considerations, such as considering private Favorable or unfavorable factors".
When Keneally spoke to reporters at the Parliament Building on Thursday, he did not ask Dutton to resign, nor did he make any accusations for his extraordinary behavior.
But Keneally said that if McKenzie was forced to resign because of an undisclosed conflict of interest, “if Dutton accepted the donation and did not disclose it, he turned around and gave the organization a completely discretionary appropriation, and he must leave.”
Keneally said the government needs to answer some serious questions, including whether Dutton disclosed conflicts of interest when making funding decisions, and whether Morrison knew this.
Before her comment, ABC’s 7.30 program disclosed that after Dutton’s intervention, the National Retail Association (NRA) received a one-time grant of A$88 to assist retailers in responding to armed criminal incidents.
Dutton denied that he was affected by the NRA’s donation of $2018 to the Queensland Liberal National Party at the "Support Dutton Dinner" held at the Norman Hotel on November 11, 21. I discussed the grant.
On September 2018, 9, Dutton told his department that he wanted to consider an NRA application, “The proposal aims to use Australia’s retail network to assist the authorities in maximizing public safety, especially by protecting public places. "
The NRA's financial report declared this donation, as well as the second donation of AU$2018 to LNP in the 19-5000 fiscal year to support Dutton.
According to documents obtained from free information, on November 2018, 11, Dutton's office "required to consider the application of the National Retail Association as soon as possible."
On December 2018, 12, Dutton instructed his department to request the finance department to fund the NRA's application.
On March 2019, 3, Dutton agreed to provide NRA with a two-year grant of 14 Australian dollars (excluding GST) to develop educational materials to help retailers prevent, detect, delay and respond to terrorist attacks in crowded places .
In a briefing to Dutton, the Ministry of the Interior said that the business funding center of the industry sector evaluated the application as having "satisfactory scores in the three selection criteria."
It recommended approval of the funding, noting that the proposal was "good value for money and an appropriate use of federal resources."
Lamb told ABC's 7.30 program that the NRA won funding for the "Protection of Crowded Places" project through an "important bidding process", which helped the NRA train more than 4.8 retail workers in response to "the needs of our members."
Dutton said in a written statement, "It is false and highly defamatory to imply that I have been or will be affected by a legal donation to LNP without any basis."
"It is totally nonsense to say that the government does not support worthy projects."
https://www.theguardian.com/aust … -dutton-over-grants
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