Bridget McKenzie and alternate facts

Australian political dishonesty

This piece is based on the extraordinary goings-on of an Australian federal minister – and her use of alternate facts to pretend that there is nothing wrong when the Auditor General has reported otherwise.

One of the best reporting on this is in the Canberra Times – but this is behind a pay wall.

Here’s the link click here.

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There is another reasonable report in The Guardian although the reporter has allowed some of the distracting arguments from the minister to be given some credibility – probably trying to do the usual’ balance’ – which means misleading information is given the same weight as the facts.

Click here for that article.

However the key facts are at the end of the piece – here they are:

There’s also a report today on the ABC online. Click here.

 

Hehir said that had a merit-based process been followed, the cut-off score would have been 74 out of a possible 100. More than 400 projects received funding that were below this score, in defiance of recommendations made by Sports Australia.

The audit found that in each of the three rounds of funding, Sports Australia’s recommendations were not followed or even considered.

In the first round, 91 of the projects (41%) approved were not endorsed by the Sport Australia board. In the second round, 162 (70%) of the approved projects were not recommended, and in the final round 167 (73%) of the approved projects were not recommended.

The auditor found that the design of the program was deficient in a number of areas. There was potentially no legal basis for the minister to approve successful projects, and “it is not evident to the ANAO what the legal authority was”, which it said was a “significant shortcoming”.

He found the guidelines were “well structured and included clear assessment criteria with transparent weightings”, even if these were ultimately ignored.

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There is also a report on ABC online – click here.

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This sort of questionable behaviour by a minister and her office is now not unusual in Australian politics. In this case the evidence points to the people involved knowing what they were doing and simply over ruling any good judgement and following any good governance practices.

This minister obviously does not recognise when her mode of spending taxpayers money has become totally corrupted.

The trend now is when caught, ministers lie, deny or use alternative facts to explain their way out. The bottom line is that it will be hard for anyone to prove that what she and her staff did was illegal – enough to be taken to court. They know this. And what has become common is for the Prime Minister to do nothing and wait for the whole episode to go away and not be headline news.

Stand by for some large political distraction to all this to happen. Another minister will make some stupid announcement to get the media’s attention.

 

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