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Indigenous affairs funding diverted to lobby groups opposed to native title

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Election Rorts | QED | The Nationals

Indigenous affairs funding diverted to lobby groups opposed to native title


The Coalition’s then Minister for Indigenous Affairs diverted funds intended to advantage the Indigenous away to lobby groups opposed to native title land claims. Part of that funding was then to cover legal fees to quash native title claims.

Nigel Scullion used money earmarked for alleviating Indigenous disadvantage to fund a fishing industry lobby group he used to chair. He approved a grant of $150,000 to the Northern Territory Seafood Council so it could argue how it would be negatively affected by land claims – claims he opposed during his time in the role.

He also approved grants of $170,000 to the NT amateur fishermen’s association and $165,000 to the NT Cattlemen’s Association for “legal fees”. The half a million dollars in grants came from the Indigenous advancement strategy (IAS) culture and capability division, which is supposed to fund “Indigenous cultural expression and conservation” and “participation in the social and economic life of Australia”.

The grants to the fishing and cattlemen’s groups in the Northern Territory will go towards legal fees for the groups to argue how they might be negatively impacted by land rights claims, Scullion told a Senate estimates hearing.

Labor Senator Malarndirri McCarthy said the minister treated the Indigenous advancement strategy as “his slush fund”.

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The Case for a Federal ICAC

What's a rort?

Conflicts of Interest

Redirecting funding to pet hobbies; offering jobs to the boys without a proper tender process; secretly bankrolling candidates in elections; taking up private sector jobs in apparent breach of parliament’s code of ethics, the list goes on.

Deceptive Conduct

Claiming that greenhouse gas emissions have gone down when the facts clearly show otherwise; breaking the law on responding to FoI requests; reneging on promised legislation; claiming credit for legislation that doesn’t exist; accepting donations that breach rules. You get the drift of what behaviour this category captures.

Election Rorts

In the months before the last election, the Government spent hundreds of millions of dollars of Australian taxpayers’ money on grants for sports, community safety, rural development programs and more. Many of these grants were disproportionally awarded to marginal seats, with limited oversight and even less accountability.

Dubious Travel Claims

Ministerial business that just happens to coincide with a grand final or a concert; electorate business that must be conducted in prime tourist locations, or at the same time as party fundraisers. All above board, maybe, but does it really pass the pub test? Or does it just reinforce the fact that politicians take the public for mugs?

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