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Who’s been smoking what?

by Rex Patrick | Jul 25, 2023 | Business, Latest Posts

When the ABC broke the story in March that the Legalise Cannabis Party had made it onto the list of approved organisations where JobSeeker recipients could volunteer to meet their JobSeeker mutual obligations, Rex Patrick thought he’d use FOI to get to the bottom of it. The FOI results have left him wondering, who’s been smoking what?

What sneaky tricks were used by the Legalise Cannabis NSW Party to get past the guardians at Centrelink and have their organisation listed as an approved organisation for JobSeeker volunteers?

Well, as it turns out … none.

When the party filled out the very formal looking ‘SU461’ form to request ‘organisational approval’’ to be able to attract JobSeeker volunteers, it’s not like they rolled up the job as something it wasn’t.

The Party volunteers, it wrote, were needed for “Distributions of pamphlets and flyers, manning pre-poll and rolling, sorry, polling venues, manning market and expo stores, fundraising activity and social media.”

Mutual jollification

The form was filled in so very honestly, I can only but guess that the applicant may have been hoovering on something at the time to come to the conclusion that the application would get past official gatekeepers.

That it did. Which begs the question of whether there had been some smoking going on over at Centrelink too when they received and processed the form. The approving officials could not have otherwise missed the additional requirement laid out in the form.

“Need to be 18 and over and enrolled in NSW to vote. A member of the Legalise Cannabis NSW Party.”

Scott Morrison must be kicking himself. Why did the former Minister for Finance, Health, Industry and Science, Energy and Resources Home Affairs and Treasury (at the same time) not think of this while he was in government? Maybe he did, but forgot, after mulling over it with Governor General David Hurley during one of his regular ministerial appointment sessions …

Had Scott thought of this mutual obligation rort, every welfare recipient could have been funnelled to the Liberal National Party to help him get re-elected. “The best form of welfare is a job” he could have preached. He might have been in power for decades.

But I guess he just wasn’t smoking anything that would have given him the necessary clarity of mind to concoct something like this.

Mutual conflagration

Before the ABC reported the situation and the Government withdrew the approval, at least a few volunteers joined the session. It could well have been welfare recipients who were already members of the Legalise Cannabis NSW Party, but now with an opportunity to more easily meet their Centrelink mutual obligation requirements.

But there could have been other volunteers. Why not!

After all, everyone at the party would have been having a good time. There may have been a little bit of smoke in the air, but otherwise, nothing much too harmful. Alas, those killjoys at the ABC had to ruin everything.

Rex Patrick is a former Senator for South Australia and earlier a submariner in the armed forces. Best known as an anti-corruption and transparency crusader - www.transparencywarrior.com.au.

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