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Prime Minister Morrison denies misleading Parliament over involvement in sports rorts

Prime Minister Morrison denies misleading Parliament over involvement in sports rorts
May 11, 2020

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has denied he misled Parliament regarding his role in the pre 2019 election allocation of grants from the Community Sport Infrastructure Grant Program.  Prime Minister Morrison today Morrison on told reporters in Canberra that he had not misled Parliament and dismissed questions about the new evidence from the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO).

Emails sent from Prime Minister Morrison’s office to , then-Federal Sports Minister Bridget McKenzie’s office in March 2019, released by the ANAO to the Senate inquiry into what has become known as the ‘sports rorts’ affair, revealed that Senator McKenzie was expected to write to the Prime Minister to seek “authority” on the approved sports projects, and to inform him of the “roll out plan”.

The Prime Minister’s office had also requested changes to the final list of approved projects on 10th and 11th April - the day the 2019 election was called.

According to ANAO, Prime Minister Morrison’s office wrote “we need to be able to cross check against our list and also be able to pull individual projects out to coordinate announcements and material from CCHQ (Coalition campaign headquarters).”

The new evidence was recently revealed to the Senate inquiry charged with investigating the handling of the sports grants program in answers to questions on notice.

Earlier this year, Morrison told the House of Representatives that “there was no authorisation provided by me as prime minister on the projects”, after it was revealed that 136 emails were sent between the two offices regarding the grants scheme between October 2018 and April 2019.

He claimed his office had merely “passed on information about other funding options or programs relevant to project proposals”.

Prime Minister Morrison has repeatedly stated that Senator McKenzie made all the decisions on the Program.

Images: Prime Minister Scott Morrison at the Sans Souci Football Club in his Sydney constituency. The Club received funds under the Community Sport Infrastructure Grant Program. Image: Sans Souci Football Club/Facebook.

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8th May 2020 - Prime Minister Morrison’s authority was sought in tainted sports grants program

8th May 2020 - Federal Government reveals how leisure activities will return as Coronavirus restrictions are eased

24th April 2020 - Prime Minister Scott Morrison announces framework for return of sport

27th February 2020 - North Sydney Olympic Pool classed as a ‘regional facility’ when gaining Federal grant funding

27th February 2020 - Sport rorts inquiry implicates Prime Minister Scott Morrison

15th February 2020 - Report from Secretary to Prime Minister’s Department rejects Audit Office finding that sports grant program targeted marginal electorates

13th February 2020 - National Audit Office advises 43% of successful Federal Government sports fund projects were ineligible

7th February 2020 - Reports reveal Federal Government ‘quietly spent’ $150 million female sports program funds on aquatic centre projects in marginal seats

2nd February 2020 - Sports rorts scandal sees National deputy leader Bridget McKenzie resign from Government

23rd January 2020 - ‘Sports rorts’ review to be assessed by Prime Minister’s department

23rd January 2020 - ‘Sports rorts’ scandal: Revelation that upmarket golf, rowing and tennis clubs received major grants

22nd January 2020 - More than $1 million in sport grants given to nine clubs linked to Coalition MPs

16th January 2020 - Audit Office sports grants report cites ‘conflict of interest’ at Sport Australia

15th January 2020 - Audit Office report confirms that Federal Government targeted marginal seats with potentially illegal sports grants

8th November 2019 - Sport Australia advice ignored by former Federal Sports Ministers in award of community sport infrastructure funds

20th May 2019 - Federal Government Community Sporting Infrastructure Grants invests over $100 million

16th April 2019 - MP presents $1.5 million novelty cheque to sports club despite funds not being approved


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