Media Release: More Cosy Relationships Between Liberals and their Mates
10.25am | February 27, 2019
SENATOR JENNY MCALLISTER
SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR FAMILIES AND COMMUNITIES
SENATOR FOR NEW SOUTH WALES
SENATOR PATRICK DODSON
SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR INDIGENOUS AFFAIRS
AND ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDERS
SENATOR FOR WESTERN AUSTRALIA
MORE COSY RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN LIBERALS AND THEIR MATES
Senate Estimates has revealed more cosy relationships between the Liberal party and their mates.
In Estimates this afternoon, Labor questioned Minister Scullion about the Sky News program Mundine Means Business – a television show starring Liberal Candidate for Gilmore Warren Mundine.
McAllister: Who came up with the idea of Mundine Means Business? I assume it wasn’t the Department who thought “It would be great if Warren Mundine had a television show. Why don’t we go and approach him and see if he’d be interested Maybe Mr. Murdoch would chip in as well?” Was that the Department’s idea?
Sharpe: A very strong part of our Indigenous Business Policy is the importance of celebrating Indigenous success. So that’s written into the Indigenous Business Sector Strategy. The exact mechanism – how we were going to do it, as in how we were going to produce Mundine Means Business – no, that wasn’t written in. Mr Mundine approached – I think – the Minister first and the idea was put to us for consideration.
McAllister: Oh I see – Minister, Mr. Mundine approached you, in fact? So the genesis of this was a conversation between yourself and Mr. Mundine – is that correct?
McAllister: Oh, well Ms. Sharpe just said that – I asked her who came up with this idea, that it would be nice for Mr. Mundine to have a television show. She talked about the importance of valuing and supporting Indigenous success and she said that the genesis for the television show was a conversation between yourself and the Minister – and that you then approached the department. Is that correct?
Scullion: It was a fair time ago and my recollection is that as part of the business strategy – to try and meet some of the demand that had been created by the IPP –there was a number of suggestions about how we would talk about Indigenous business and how much there was of it and where to get hold of it – that this was a part of that strategy. Now I can’t recall who – I certainly didn’t come up with the idea of a TV show, I can tell you that, so I can’t recall exactly the genesis of that. It certainly wasn’t me or my office – I’m reminded that I signed a brief on that and that’s fine – but my recollection – and I would have a clear recollection - that this was some idea generated by myself is not correct.
The Minister then admitted it did come from his office.
McAllister: But the department’s advice is that the genesis of this is an e-mail from a member of your staff with a word document attached suggesting a television program.
Scullion: Well if that’s the evidence they give then that’s probably the case.
Minister Scullion was further questioned.
McAllister: You can see the problem though, can’t you? Because what has actually taken place is that a person who was known to be very close to the Prime Minister – is sitting on the Prime Minister’s Indigenous Advisory Council – receives a direct grant which no other person was able to apply for to develop a television program to raise his profile and then that person nominates as a candidate for the Liberal Party. Can you see why people might find that just a little bit unacceptable in terms?
Scullion: No, I can’t at all, Senator. And, as you would recall – so if you’re making a point about being on the Indigenous Advisory Committee, it’s not because he was close to the Prime Minister, Senator, it was because he is a high profile, very articulate, very smart, Aboriginal man who is providing leadership in this area – I don’t think anyone would deny that. But the fact that he is now of great interest because he’s a member of the Liberal Party…
McAllister: There are other high profile, highly intelligent, highly articulate, highly successful Indigenous people – and none of those people have been given a very large amount of money to develop their profile on television.
Australians would be appalled to see money from the Coalition’s Indigenous Advancement Strategy going towards a profile-raising exercise on Sky for someone who is now running as a Liberal candidate at the Federal election.
This is yet another demonstration of this Government’s priorities when it comes to First Nations peoples.
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 22 2019
MEDIA CONTACT: NATHAN ROBERTSON 0436 632 388