Labor introduces bill to stop pork-barrelling

Labor introduces bill to stop pork-barrelling

Bridget McKenzie resigned as deputy leader of the Nationals after the sports rorts affair. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Gary RamageSource:News Corp Australia

Labor has taken aim at the Coalition’s “pork-barrelling” and will introduce an “anti-rorting” Bill into the Senate in a bid to stamp it out.

The Bill aims to improve transparency and accountability of ministerial decisions within grant programs by making it mandatory for ministers to report on grants that could potentially be classified as pork-barrelling.

“There has been sports rorts, regional rorts, safer seats rorts and, most recently and perhaps most egregiously, the pork-and-ride commuter carpark rorts that have seen billions of dollars in grant funding pork-barrelled across the country,” Labor senator Katy Gallagher said.

“Scott Morrison is addicted to rorting.”

Labor introduces bill to stop pork-barrelling

Nationals senator Bridget McKenzie lost her frontbench spot after the sports rorts scandal. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Gary RamageSource:News Corp Australia

A scathing review from the Australian National Audit Office in June lashed the federal government‘s $660m Commuter Car Park program, revealing 77 per cent of the carpark sites were in Coalition-held electorates.

The audit said the funding selection process was “not appropriate” and ”not designed to be transparent”, finding then-urban infrastructure minister Alan Tudge kept a ”top 20 marginals” sheet for awarding projects to help the Coalition keep or win electorate seats for the 2019 election.

But speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Senator Tudge denied any wrongdoing.

When asked why a list of top 20 marginals would be necessary, Senator Tudge said he was unaware of the existence of such a list.

“I‘m not aware of that,” he told reporters.

“The commuter carpark sites were chosen on the basis of need.”

Labor introduces bill to stop pork-barrelling

The Morrison government maintains the carpark funding was allocated on the basis of need. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Gary RamageSource:News Corp Australia

Under the Bill, ministers who approve grants rejected by their departments or who award grants in their own electorates must report the decision to the finance minister within 30 days and table those reports in Parliament within five sitting days.

“This will dramatically reduce the time ministers are able to hide their dodgy decisions from the Australian community from up to 16 months down to just a couple of months,” Senator Gallagher said.

But those calling for greater integrity and transparency across both major parties say the Bill wouldn’t do enough to tackle the “systemic pork-barrelling” that is widespread across Australian politics.

Independent MP Helen Haines commended the Labor Party for taking a step towards greater accountability, but said the Bill “still misses the point”.

Senator Haines said pork-barrelling had been a longtime and systemic issue “irrespective of who is in government”, insisting the Bill’s scope was ”not wide enough” to actually address the issue.

Pork barrelling was also widespread under the 2007-2013 Labor government, which was slammed by the National Audit Office in 2014 when it found 80 per cent of ministerial decisions to decline funding to recommended applications were in Coalition-held electorates.

While the proposed Bill will require ministers to disclose quickly when they send money to their own electorates, it does not require they disclose when money is sent to marginal seats that are not their own.

This means that under the proposed Bill, indiscretions such as the “top 20 marginals” sheet in the carpark rorts scandal will not be subject to the 30-day disclosure rule.

“The Bill doesn‘t go anywhere near what we really need,” said Senator Haines, who insisted that only a federal integrity commission could properly address the issue.

“For every dollar that gets spent, buying a vote, that‘s $1 that’s not going to a real need,” she said.

“An integrity commission is really the only thing that is going to bring about consequences for the misuse of public money.”

News Related

OTHER NEWS

Methane emissions higher than previous estimates in Queensland's Surat Basin CSG region

© Provided by ABC Business Bryce Kelly says reducing methane emissions is “the most cost-effective way to reduce climate change today”. (Supplied) A world-first aerial survey of Queensland’s main coal seam ... Read more »

Australian Antarctic Division prepares to drill million-year-old ice core to understand ice age shift

© Provided by ABC NEWS The 10m, 200kg ice drill will be used to collect a million-year-old ice core in Antarctica over five years. (ABC News: Owain Stia-James) The Australian Antarctic ... Read more »

Melbourne bar owner arrested in WA after attending AFL grand final

A Melbourne bar owner and his friend have been taken into police custody in Western Australia after they allegedly illegally entered the isolated state to attend the AFL grand final. ... Read more »

Doctor Anywhere and Equicom launch tech healthcare platform in the Philippines

The platform will allow users to skip the clinic waiting time, and video-call a licensed doctor in five minutes, with medication delivered to them within a day. Read more »

Samsung pips TSMC to produce chips for Tesla's next-gen self-driving cars

Tesla and Samsung have exchanged chip prototypes for the automaker’s upcoming Hardware 4 self-driving computer. Read more »

ACCC calls for new powers to rein in Google's dominance of Australian online ads

The Australian competition regulator has argued it needs more powers to control Google’s dominance of the $9.5bn Australian online advertising industry, with 90% of ad impressions passing through at least ... Read more »

NT crocodile attack during river cruise

A 60-year-old man is in hospital in the Northern Territory after being bitten on the arm by a crocodile during a cruise on the Adelaide River. © Richard Wainwright/AAP PHOTOS ... Read more »

Google slammed for 'harming consumers' with advertising dominance

© Provided by Daily Mail MailOnline logo Google has been accused of harming consumers by pushing up the prices of goods due to its dominance in online advertising. Australia’s competition ... Read more »

'Serious policy' taken to climate talks

Australia will take “serious policy decisions” to climate talks in Glasgow, a senior Morrison government minister says. © Mick Tsikas/AAP PHOTOS Finance Minister Simon Birmingham insists the government is taking ... Read more »

Injury sees Penrith Panthers' Tevita Pangai Junior out of NRL grand final against South Sydney Rabbitohs

Penrith has been dealt a major injury blow ahead of Sunday’s grand final, with star mid-season recruit Tevita Pangai Junior ruled out because of a knee injury. Pangai Junior — who moved to ... Read more »

Scott Morrison meets with Liberal MPs worried Coalition will appease Nationals on net zero

Scott Morrison has met with a number of Liberal MPs concerned the government could try to appease the National party by adopting a policy roadmap to achieve net zero emissions ... Read more »

Crows cleared over AFL pre-season camp

Adelaide have been cleared of breaching any work health and safety laws during their disastrous AFL pre-season camp in 2018. © Julian Smith/AAP PHOTOS The Adelaide Crows have been cleared ... Read more »

The top ten holiday locations Aussies are searching for post-lockdown

© Provided by Daily Mail MailOnline logo As states look to open their borders once the 80 per cent vaccination target is reached Australia-wide hopeful residents are gearing up to ... Read more »

Questions remain despite long-running inquest into Wayne Fella Morrison's death in custody

© Provided by ABC NEWS Mr Morrison was placed down in a van at Yatala Labour Prison in 2016.  (ABC News: Dean Faulkner) A long-running coronial inquest has heard there ... Read more »

New clusters in Qld ahead of NRL decider

Two new clusters of COVID-19 have been detected in Brisbane days out from the NRL grand final, with one centred on an unvaccinated truck driver who was infectious in the ... Read more »

Woolworths' online shopping secret weapon launched

Woolworths has drastically expanded its online shopping offering, launching a new online platform that will allow grocery shoppers to add everything from vacuums to books to their cart. Named “Everyday ... Read more »

Two NSW LGAs to enter lockdown from this evening

Two regional New South Wales local government areas will go into lockdown this evening due to an increased risk of COVID-19. Stay-at-home orders will be in force in Port Macquarie ... Read more »

Environmentalists slam decision to allow Figtree Hill housing development in koala habitat

© Provided by ABC NEWS Environmentalists say koalas are under threat from rapid urban development south-west of Sydney. (ABC Illawarra: Tim Fernandez) The NSW Land and Environment Court has dismissed a ... Read more »

Timeline revealed for jab coverage targets

Australia is on track to hit the crucial milestone of 80 per cent coronavirus vaccination coverage in mid-November and could reach 90 per cent just weeks after that. © Lukas ... Read more »

Ambulance, triple zero delays hit Victoria

Victorians calling triple zero are facing “unacceptable delays” while ambulance ramping has been seen outside a Melbourne hospital, as the state’s health system struggles to keep on top of demand.  ... Read more »

Gladys Berejiklian banned anti-vaxxers for longer than advised

© Provided by Daily Mail MailOnline logo Gladys Berejiklian has defended her decision to ease restrictions for the unvaccinated five weeks after lifting them for the jabbed, saying that delay ... Read more »

Jamie Durie under fire over plans to build six storey 'monstrosity'

© Provided by Daily Mail MailOnline logo Jamie Durie’s dreams of knocking down a 1960s cottage and native trees to build a sprawling waterfront mansion for his family have been ... Read more »

Home loan crackdown appears imminent as Treasurer, regulators discuss house price surge

© Provided by ABC Business Regulators are becoming increasingly concerned by rising house prices and the growing debt fuelling the boom. (ABC News) The Treasurer has given the strongest indication ... Read more »

Tesla upgrades global big battery fleet after Victorian fire

A fire that broke out at the Victorian Big Battery has prompted manufacturer Tesla to upgrade its global fleet of Megapack batteries after an investigation found the blaze was most ... Read more »

Regional GP warns of bushfire smoke's 'serious impact' on mothers and babies

A Border doctor is calling for more to be done to protect pregnant women and the broader community from the “devastating effects” of bushfire. Albury-based doctor Rebecca McGowan will be ... Read more »

Thousands of Victorians call for rego fee refund as cars sit idle

Victoria’s Liberal opposition has thrown its support behind a campaign calling on the state government to offer drivers financial relief for car registration costs as rolling COVID-19 lockdowns continue. More ... Read more »

Jump in Singapore COVID-19 cases despite 80 per cent vaccination

A jump in COVID-19 cases is forcing Singapore – one of the most vaccinated countries – to reintroduce restrictions. The city-state reported 1647 new coronavirus cases and two deaths yesterday, ... Read more »

NSW Covid update: Brad Hazzard contradicts police chief on enforcement of vaccine rules

The New South Wales health minister Brad Hazzard insists police will be responsible for enforcing entry restrictions on unvaccinated people – a position at odds with the state’s police commissioner ... Read more »

NSW businesses may keep blocking unjabbed

Unvaccinated people in NSW will likely remain barred from most hospitality and entertainment venues as well as air travel after restrictions ease in December, the state’s health minister says. © ... Read more »

Hunter records highest daily total of new infections as Greater Sydney numbers decline

As COVID cases in Greater Sydney decline, infections continue to rise in the Hunter. For the first time the region has recorded 63 cases in one day — its highest ... Read more »

Island nations vulnerable to China: report

The remoteness and size of some of the Indo-Pacific’s smallest nations have left them vulnerable to coercion by China, a new report has found. © Mick Tsikas/AAP PHOTOS The new ... Read more »

ACT confident of travel with NSW, Victoria

© Lukas Coch/AAP PHOTOS Andrew Barr expects a lot more travel between the ACT, NSW and hopefully Victoria after December 1. Travel is expected to resume between Canberra, NSW and ... Read more »

Mongols bikie gang alleged associate Joshua Gomez in court over East Perth carjacking

© Provided by ABC NEWS The man was arrested on the freeway after shots were fired in East Perth. (ABC News: Keane Bourke) A 28-year-old man at the centre of yesterday’s ... Read more »

Home COVID-19 tests approved for Aussies from November 1

Australians will be able to test themselves for COVID-19 at home after the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) approved the use of rapid antigen tests. Health Minister Greg Hunt announced today ... Read more »

Australians are shocked by size of wombat at a Queensland sanctuary

© Provided by Daily Mail MailOnline logo A plump wombat has shocked Australians by its enormous size and has even been placed on an exercise program to help her lose ... Read more »

Queensland-Tasmania Shield game postponed

Queensland’s home Sheffield Shield clash in Brisbane has been postponed until later this season after Tasmania elected to fly home due to COVID-19 concerns. © Russell Freeman/AAP PHOTOS Queensland’s Sheffield ... Read more »

Retail spending tumbles again in August

Retail spending fell for a third month in a row in August due to the impact of coronavirus lockdowns in Australia’s most populous states. © Alan Porritt/AAP PHOTOS Retail trade ... Read more »

NRL grand final to go ahead in Brisbane 'at this stage' despite Queensland COVID-19 scare

© Provided by ABC Health Dr Jeannette Young says a decision will be made on the NRL decider on Sunday morning. (ABC News) The NRL grand final is going ahead ... Read more »

How James Packer saved BOTH clubs in Sunday's NRL Grand Final

© Provided by Daily Mail MailOnline logo Billionaire James Packer is a proud part-owner of the South Sydney Rabbitohs – but is also revered in Penrith after saving the Panthers ... Read more »

Fire at Tesla giant battery project near Geelong was likely caused by coolant leak, investigation finds

© Provided by ABC NEWS The fire prompted a toxic smoke warning for the Geelong area. (ABC News) Authorities have granted approval for testing to resume at Australia’s largest Tesla ... Read more »