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Lambie warns Morrison to release sports rorts report

Politics

Influential independent senator Jacqui Lambie has reiterated her threat to torpedo the Morrison government’s union-busting bill if it doesn’t release a secret report into the sports rorts scandal.

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“What’s good for the goose is good for the gander. Now release the damn report,” Lambie told ABC Radio on Thursday.

Scott Morrison is under fresh scrutiny over his part in the scandal, after it emerged 136 emails about the scheme were sent between his office and that of the minister responsible.

The auditor-general found the controversial $100 million program favoured coalition-targeted seats before the May 18 election.

The Australian National Audit Office told the Senate on Wednesday there were 136 emails sent between the prime minister’s office and key staff of former sport minister Bridget McKenzie.

McKenzie also sent a list of grants she intended to approve to Morrison on the day before last year’s federal election was called.

Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese labelled the program corrupt after probing the prime minister’s involvement during question time.

“This rort knows no bounds,” he told parliament on Wednesday.

Morrison insists his office had no decision-making role in the scheme.

“We passed on information about other funding options or programs relevant to project proposals and we provided information based on the representations made to us,” he said.

McKenzie was forced to quit after she was found to have broken ministerial rules by not declaring potential conflicts of interest relating to gun club memberships.

But the same report by Prime Minister and Cabinet secretary Philip Gaetjens disagreed with the independent auditor-general that target seats were favoured.

His report hasn’t been publicly released, and Lambie maintains if the government doesn’t do so, she won’t back their union-busting “ensuring integrity” bill.

“Why don’t you just release it out there? What are you hiding? It is a cover up,” she said.

The Australian Sports Commission will on Thursday come before a Senate hearing focused on how the sports grants were administered.

ANAO official Brian Boyd told a Senate hearing earlier in the month there was no evidence projects with prime ministerial representations had higher success rates.

-AAP

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