Ros Kelly – a former minister in the Keating government – allocated government funding on a large white board in her office. The board was then erased and poor records kept.
Mrs Kelly, a former teacher, stunned MPs when she told the inquiry that she made her decisions by writing the short-listed applications on ‘a great big whiteboard’ in her office, after which her staff rubbed them out.
Although no one accused Mrs Kelly of corruption, she performed unconvincingly in parliament against opposition charges that she had been biased, incompetent and had misled the House.
After first rejecting the charges, she was forced to concede that she had approved sporting grants in at least one marginal Labor seat after advice from her own department that the bodies in question were ineligible. Most leading newspapers called for her resignation last week. The parliamentary report, tabled yesterday, stated: ‘Her record- keeping was seriously inadequate and her administration was deficient.’
This got labelled the sport-rorts affair.
We now have the Fink-rort.
A GROUP of five cabinet ministers signed off on Labor’s independent media review without seeking written submissions on its terms of reference or the candidates to run it.
Details of how the inquiry was established emerged as officials revealed the inquiry’s head, former judge Ray Finkelstein, was paid $308,000 and the inquiry’s top adviser, academic Matthew Ricketson, was paid $175,000.
Officials from Communications Minister Stephen Conroy’s department told a Senate committee yesterday they were not asked for written advice on the review by Mr Finkelstein, who has called for statutory regulation of print and online news.
In the first detailed questioning over the process, the Senate estimates committee heard there was no cabinet submission about the Finkelstein review and that Senator Conroy’s department did not offer written advice about the terms of reference or the potential candidates who would lead it.
Julia Gillard, Wayne Swan, Anthony Albanese, Penny Wong and Senator Conroy signed off on the exercise after the government met with the Greens.
So did they even write up stuff on a white board or was it just a nod and a wink?