Labor has asked the auditor-general to investigate how South Australian Liberal candidate Georgina Downer was able to present a taxpayer-funded grant before the local member, Rebekha Sharkie, even knew about it.
Downer, the Liberal Party’s candidate for the seat of Mayo, was pictured on social media handing out the prop cheque emblazoned with her image and name for more than $125,000 at Yankalilla Bowling Club.
Shadow attorney-general Mark Dreyfus has written to the Auditor-General, Grant Hehir, asking for the matter that he described as inappropriate and unacceptable to be investigated.
“I query how it is possible for Ms Downer, the unsuccessful candidate for the 2018 Mayo by-election and an unelected candidate for the upcoming federal election, to misuse a taxpayer-funded grant in this fashion,” Dreyfus wrote.
He’s asked Hehir to investigate the conduct of the Liberal party, Ms Downer and Sport Minister Bridget McKenzie.
Dreyfus said he understood Downer made the announcement to the Yankalilla Bowling Club before Ms Sharkie was made aware the funding had been granted.
Sharkie said she had helped the bowling club with getting the grant.
“In more than a decade of politics I’ve never seen a taxpayer-funded grant delivered by cheque with a candidate’s face and name on it. Rather desperate and misleading,” the crossbench MP tweeted.
Downer, the daughter of former foreign minister Alexander Downer, was comprehensively beaten by Sharkie at last July’s by-election but will try again at the upcoming general election.
Downer told the ABC today that she had personally lobbied the Sports Minister for the club’s upgrade, and after learning last Tuesday it had been approved the club had asked her to bring a novelty cheque to a Friday night function to celebrate.
She said there was no suggestion it was her money and that all present understood it was a Commonwealth grant.
Want to comment?
Send us an email, making it clear which story you’re commenting on and including your full name (required for publication) and phone number (only for verification purposes). Please put “Reader views” in the subject.
We’ll publish the best comments in a regular “Reader Views” post. Your comments can be brief, or we can accept up to 350 words, or thereabouts.
InDaily has changed the way we receive comments. Go here for an explanation.
We value local independent journalism. We hope you do too.
InDaily provides valuable, local independent journalism in South Australia. As a news organisation it offers an alternative to The Advertiser, a different voice and a closer look at what is happening in our city and state for free. Any contribution to help fund our work is appreciated. Please click below to become an InDaily supporter.