Scott Morrison enters the final parliamentary sitting week of the year with new questions about the Coalition’s record on administering government voter grants.
New analysis found that since 2013, the bulk of government grants have gone to government-owned seats.
The analysis indicates that $ 3.9 billion has been allocated under seven federal programs since the Coalition took office, and $ 2.8 billion, or 71% of total taxpayer-funded funds, went to projects in the government electorate.
According to the analysis conducted by the Australia Institute, only $ 903 million was distributed to seats held by Labor under programs that left ministers with discretion over how grants were allocated, while $ 232 million of dollars went to voters held by independents or minor parties.
The study finds that the safe coalition seats received more than $ 1.6 billion, the marginal coalition seats more than $ 1.1 billion, the marginal Labor seats around $ 550 million, the seats Labor security $ 255 million and seats held by micro-parties or independents $ 132 million.
Part of the asymmetry may be explained by the fact that some discretionary grant programs were largely limited to regional and rural areas, or regions outside of major cities, and the Coalition holds the lion’s share of those seats. Three of the seven programs analyzed fell into this category.
But the new analysis will give new impetus to criticism of the government’s controversial grant allocation record. Administration of programs such as sports grants and commuter parking fund allocation has been excoriated by the Australian National Audit Office.
The Progressive Think Tank report comes as Morrison and senior ministers attempt to neutralize the continued internal dissent that characterized last week.
Liberal Senators Gerard Rennick and Alex Antic last week refused to vote with the government on anything except procedural motions to protest the vaccination warrants, and Liberal MP Bridget Archer took the speech in an attempt to launch a parliamentary debate on a federal anti-corruption program. commission.
Morrison signaled on Sunday that the government was unlikely to introduce legislation giving effect to its own integrity commission proposal this week, unless Labor was inclined to back it.
Some Liberal backbenchers fear the government’s model is too weak and have pushed for changes. But there have been divisions within the cabinet over measures to strengthen the proposal – including whether or not to allow public hearings for inquiries into politicians.
Morrison suggested on Sunday that the government was not inclined to strengthen its model. But Attorney General Michaelia Cash was more equivocal. “Right now the bill is as it is,” she told reporters in Canberra.
The government is also fighting to gain support for its controversial voter identification legislation. He wants to pass this measure this week, but the fate of the bill remains uncertain.
Over the weekend, Australia also recorded its first two cases of inbound travelers with the Omicron variant of Covid-19. The new strain has been designated as a variant of concern by the World Health Organization because of its “relevant” mutations and because “preliminary evidence suggests an increased risk of reinfection with this variant”.
The cases are in New South Wales.
The Prime Minister told reporters Australia is in a good position to deal with the new strain as vaccination rates are among the highest in the world. Morrison encouraged people to get the shot if they haven’t had the shot before, and to get the shot if they do.
Morrison said the emergence of a new strain would not bring Australia back to the uncertainties of February and March 2020, which marked the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
“We now have a good acquaintance,” said the prime minister. “Good advice. The uncertainties are not like they used to be.
“We have good, proven systems which are demonstrated by one of the lowest death rates, strongest economies and highest vaccination rates in the world.”
While restrictions were placed on returning travelers, the prime minister said the goal remained to “open safely and stay open safely”.