Election 2022: Morrison criticises public servants

By Chris Johnson

May 17, 2022

Scott Morrison
Scott Morrison says his government has a better idea of what the community needs than does ‘someone sitting in Canberra’. (AAP Image/Mick Tsikas)

Scott Morrison has used his appearance on the ABC’s 7.30 program to take a swipe at the public service, suggesting his government has a better idea of what the community needs than “someone sitting in Canberra”.

In response to questioning over the Coalition’s sports rorts scandal that saw community sports grants used as a slush fund for marginal seats, the prime minister was non-apologetic.

Instead, he launched into a defence of his government’s intervention in the way the grants were allocated, which was contrary to the assessment criteria and recommendations of Sports Australia. In doing so, he used the public sector as an easy-target punching bag. 

“I don’t think public servants sitting in Canberra have a better idea about what people need in their communities than their members of parliament who work in those communities every day,” Morrison said.

“I’m sorry, politicians, elected leaders, ministers, ultimately make decisions because we’re the ones accountable to the public — not public servants. Not Sports Australia.”

The Australian National Audit Office found that: “the successful applications were not those that had been assessed as the most meritorious in terms of the published program guidelines.”

The audit concluded that the awards of grant funding were “not informed by an appropriate assessment process and sound advice” and that the minister “conducted a parallel assessment process” using “other considerations”.

But that all meant very little to the prime minister Monday night when questioned about it. 

“I mean, I was at the Beauty Point Bowling Club down in northern Tasmania the other day. It’s the main community hall in the entire community. It’s a bowls club. They needed to ensure they could continue. We’re supporting them,” Morrison said.

“Now, someone in Canberra mightn’t understand how important that is, but I can tell you what — they do, and [Member for Bass] Bridget Archer does and I do and that’s why we support it.

“I just don’t buy into this narrative that is put to us. Politicians, members of parliament are part of their local community. They know what their community needs. We go to an election, we are very clear about what we plan to do and the commitments we make, and then we follow through and we implement them.”

The public sector has featured throughout this federal election campaign, with Labor promising to slash the massive spend on consultants contracted to the public servants, and employ more actual public servants.

The Coalition has responded with advertising speaking directly to consultants to tell them that their jobs are on the line. 


Election 2022: Public service doesn’t run the government, says Morrison

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