12 March 2020

Joint statement with Senator Don Farrell, Shadow Minister for Sport, Senator Anthony Chisholm, and Senator Nita Green.

People hurt by the Morrison Government’s rorting of sports grants have today highlighted the real impact on their communities.

Representatives of the Beechworth Lawn Tennis Club made a 7-hour round trip to Melbourne to tell the Senate Select Committee on Administration of Sports Grants about the disrespect they’ve been treated with by this Government.

President Andy Carr told the committee:

“We’re not lines of a spreadsheet, to be colour-coded and arbitrarily dismissed just because of where we live or how useful we are in a political process. We’re not just a club name from a town you have never heard of and may never visit, we’re people and this matters to us.”

Greensborough Hockey Club President Greg Purser’s emotional testimony demonstrated the toll this tawdry saga has taken on club volunteers.

Mr Purser told the committee multiple requests for a breakdown of the scores given to the club’s application against the program’s published criteria had been rejected.

Requests like these are being rejected because Scott Morrison doesn’t want Australians to know how completely his government corrupted this grants program.

His government’s excuse for its handling of these grants has also been demolished, with multiple legal experts today giving evidence that the section of the program guidelines giving the former Minister authority to “provide final approval” was invalid.

The Morrison Government thinks it’s above the law and it thinks people only matter if their votes can be bought.

The Prime Minister needs to explain who made changes to the grants awarded in the third round, given the former Minister says it wasn’t her.

He also needs to do the right thing, apologise to the communities his government has treated so appallingly and fund the projects they’ve worked so hard on for so long.