Wednesday, 30 May 2018

Barnaby the scandal

To me, this has always been about the misuse of government funds. Until the Prime Minister's office got involved this was probably little more than an inappropriate office affair. When the decision was made to try and hide the relationship by separating the couple during work it all went awry.

It is alleged that the former Chief of Staff for Barnaby raised the relationship in a high-level meeting between the PMO and Barnaby's office. This is when Turnbull became aware of the relationship. Although it is claimed by many in the know it was common knowledge as early as November 2016.
Either way, the result of the meeting was a decision that in my opinion was a point of no return.

They made the decision to try and hide the relationship. They decided to move Ms Campion out of Barnaby's office. A high paying media advisor role was created in Canavan's office. He has claimed there was a need for the role and that there was an interview. Although the reality is there were no other candidates. No advertising for the role. Canavan claims Barnaby wasn't involved but the stink of it is he must have been. He must have agreed to the separation at work. There is no way Canavan would poach staff from the bosses office. So Ms Campion gets a $110,000 pay increase in the move to Canavan's office to approximately $190,000 a year. People in Canberra have said this role didn't have the desired effect. The couple were spending as much time together now as they ever had.

When Canavan stood down over the s44 issue the role was no longer there. Soon another role was created in Damian Drum's office. A media adviser role in an office that already had a junior staffer in a role of media adviser. The office had little to no requirement for Ms Campion. If it did she would have been replaced as within a fortnight she went on indefinite stress leave. It was said in Senate estimates she never set foot in Drum's office. This job was signed off by the Prime Minister. The role became redundant shortly after when Damien Drum was promoted. Perhaps the redundancy was the plan all along?

I'm not suggesting this doesn't happen all the time in parliament house but I am suggesting it is a criminal misuse of Commonwealth revenue. Paying people who aren't doing a job pretending that they are. I have no idea how many people have done this but I do know it is wrong. I asked the AFP to investigate it I felt so strongly but all I got was a generic response. I later learnt that I wasn't the only person to make the same complaint.

When you consider how hard lined the AFP investigation was for Peter Slipper's case one wonders how they could sit idly by as these roles were created? Most of the people who follow Australian politics have noticed many anomalies like this since Sept 2013.

I hope that this issue is investigated and prosecuted by somebody independent and if there are other similar cases they to should suffer the same fate.