SENATOR KRISTINA KENEALLY
DEPUTY LABOR LEADER IN THE SENATE
SHADOW MINISTER FOR HOME AFFAIRS
SHADOW MINISTER FOR IMMIGRATION AND CITIZENSHIP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABILITY
SENATOR FOR NEW SOUTH WALES
CAPTAIN SAFE SEATS - PETER DUTTON CHARGED TAXPAYERS OVER $36,000 FOR LUXURY PRIVATE JET FLIGHT TO TASMANIA
Just days after it was revealed that Peter Dutton directed 91% of funds from the Safer Communities Fund to Coalitionand marginal seats, Minister Dutton has been exposed charging taxpayers more than $36,000 to use a luxury VIP RAAF plane to fly to Tasmania to announce the grants next to the Liberal candidate in the Braddon upcoming by-election.
Freedom-of-information documents have revealed that Minister Dutton announced the grants for two councils in the Braddon electorate, worth a combined $194,000 in July 2018, a month before the rules for the third round of Safer Communities Fund were published and applications opened, and against the express advice of community safety experts in the Minister's own department.
The documents revealed that Minister Dutton's community safety experts found that the two proposals were not suitable when compared to other communities in need. These experts specifically warned the Minister, “should you decide to make funding decisions that do not reflect the order of merit, you may be criticised either in the media, or by the Australian National Audit Office”.
Labor's Shadow Minister for Government Accountability, Senator Kristina Keneally, said that Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Minister Dutton must immediately respond to the growing Safer Seats Rorts scandal.
“Peter Dutton wasn’t making communities safer, he was making Liberal and marginal seats safer for the Liberal Party," Senator Keneally said.
"Nowhere is this clearer than in the Braddon by-election campaign, where Peter Dutton flew a luxury VIP plane to Tasmania at taxpayer expense to stand next to the Liberal candidate to announce two grants from the Safer Communities Fund, even though the guidelines for the fund hadn't been established and the application process hadn’t even opened yet!
"Peter Dutton was warned by his own safety experts not to misuse taxpayer dollars in this way, that the grants he handpicked were not up to scratch and he would likely be criticised by the Audit office for these decisions.
"Peter Dutton - Captain Safe Seats - was so determined to use taxpayer dollars to help the Liberal party win a by-election in Tasmania that he not only made a political decision to award these grants, but then hopped on a luxury VIP plane to go stand next to the Liberal candidate to announce them, charging the taxpayers over $36,000 for the quick trip.
"Australian families are struggling to pay the bills, but Peter Dutton thinks nothing of spending tens of thousands of Australians taxpayer dollars on luxury plane trips to support a Liberal Party election campaign.
"Sports Rorts was just the tip of the iceberg with this eight year old Liberal Government.
"The Liberals treat taxpayer money like it’s Liberal Party money. How can they be looking after Australian families when they are so busy looking after themselves?
"Now, more than ever, Australians want and deserve transparency and integrity in their government. Instead with this 8 year old Liberal Government they get dodgy land deals, Sports Rorts and now Safer Seats Rorts.
"Bridget McKenzie resigned over Sports Rorts. On the face of it, Peter Dutton’s Safer Seats Rorts - complete with luxury VIP plane trips - looks worse.
"Scott Morrison promised a National Integrity Commission more than two years ago but he has not delivered it. Labor is on the side of transparency and accountability in government. An Albanese Labor Government will deliver a strong and independent National Integrity Commission to stamp out waste, mismanagement and corruption and restore trust in government.”
Monday, 15 February 2021