MARK BUCKLEY. Sheer Hypocricy – No Joke

Feb 13, 2020

The Morrison Government is withholding funds to the Commonwealth Secretariat “unless flaws in how it operates and hands out lucrative contracts are fixed.” You could not make this up!

The Morrison government will slash funding to the Commonwealth Secretariat in retaliation to a cronyism scandal that has sparked an international feud over its secretary-general, writes Bevan Shields in The Age today. http://Australia slashes funding for Commonwealth over cronyism scandal

In what must rank as one of the greatest jokes of modern times, the Morrison Government has found an example of cronyism and ‘jobs for mates’ that it just cannot live with. Contrast our Government’s confected moral outrage over this example, with its glib handling of the Sports Rorts affair, discussed here

Not only did Morrison and his cabinet escape scrutiny over that matter, while sacrificing Bridget McKenzie for the equivalent of a parking ticket, but 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.

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.

So let us return to the original yarn. Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland is struggling to obtain a second term because of alleged cronyism, and an audit savaged her decision to waive usual tender rules and hand work worth nearly $500,000 to a firm run by a friend and colleague from the House of Lords. This reads as not dissimilar to the Bridget and 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.” You could not make this up!

I must admit that I am surprised that Morrison has not jumped on a plane and gone to meet this woman, because they have a lot in common. She could become the 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 improvement.

This Government is really and truly awful.

Mark Buckley is a Melbourne based writer. His work can be found at He writes mainly about politics, culture and ethics.

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