SPORTS GRANTS SAGA:
The arguments colleagues have put forward in defence of former Sports Minister Bridget McKenzie’s handling of the sports grants saga are being lauded by a number of expert organisations who study and evaluate such things.
Calls for Ms McKenzie to resign have grown since the Auditor General’s scathing criticism of her role in allocating Sports Australia’s $100 million community sport infrastructure program grants, with claims she favoured marginal seats in the lead-up to last year’s federal poll.
Yet fulsome praise for her actions has begun to flow from the Australasian Society for the Eradication of Ethical and Logical Thought and the prestigious Perpetual Runners-up Mass Debaters Association of Australia, among others.
Fellow ministers of Ms McKenzie who have been singled out by these august bodies for praise include Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Nationals leader and Deputy PM Michael McCormack, Peter Dutton, Josh Frydenberg, Greg Hunt and Micahela Cash.
“My members have been astounded by the mass debating techniques all of these Cabinet ministers have displayed,” said PRUMDAA honorary president Shawnee Stutgard from her Melbourne office.
“Indeed, it would have been an honour to have any of these ministers mass debating on my Toorak Private College for Chaste Young Ladies debating team, especially as the third rebuttal speaker.
“We could have lost our Year 12 debating final at college by even more points on the strength of their arguments.
“What we’ve witnessed here is typical of mass debating techniques all of our members look for; arguments that at first glance appear the perfect deflection and ultimate decimation of any arguments that Bridget did any wrong in allocating those Sports Australia money … until you think about it for just a little while. Like a second or so.
“Each and every one of them powerfully presented the argument that each and every one of the successful applicants had indeed applied for those grants. No-one’s going to argue against that.
“That line of attack knocked on the head straight away any silly argument that these sporting organisations could still somehow have been successful if they had not applied. No way, right?
“Bridget’s true believers then rammed home this excellent attack line by pointing out that all of the applications were not only sports organisations based in Australia but they were Australian-based sports organisations entitled to make an application for those funds.
“My members loved their arguments that with only so much money to be handed out it was only fair that some clubs would succeed and some wouldn’t.
“And with such decisions to be made and no system in place to resolve that issue, Bridget McKenzie had stepped forward and made those decisions as was her duty as a responsible minister. No rules were broken and sensible process was followed.
“You can’t win a debate with those arguments but my members loved their lines of attack anyway. We can spot fellow losers a mile off.
“Many of the arguments were the sort of deliberate lighting of irrelevant side bush fires – the look-over-there-distractions – that we as debating losers have long admired even though they quickly flame out in any reasonable debating judge’s mind.”
ASEELT president Gary Hazzard supported all of Ms Stutgard’s comments but wanted to give special mention to Health Minister Greg Hunt.
“His appearance on ABC’s News Breakfast program the other morning and how he handled that rude and clearly leftwing so-called journalist Paul Kennedy was, for mine, simply brilliant.
“It was wonderful to see a much smaller and rather scrawny minister more than hold his own over a much bigger bully.
“Despite Kennedy continually trying to talk over the minister – and ABC viewers clearly wanted to hear what the minister had to say – Mr Hunt repeatedly stated that there was nothing wrong with politicians going into bat – pardon the pun – for sports bodies in their electorates in need of some financial help.
“It was a risible piece of illogical and irrelevant nonsense that our association members spotted straight away and admired greatly.
“It was clear that Kennedy wanted to bang on with some sensible line of argument that if politicians turned out to be successful in such lobbying, then what was the use of setting up in the first place a hands-off system deliberately created to ensure the fair distribution of public monies to clubs that deserved and needed it the most?
“Thankfully a determined minister stood his ground, kept talking away and put Kennedy and his stupidly logical and ethical thoughts in their place.
“My members aren’t at all interested in that sort of clear-headed thinking and we don’t believe your typical ABC audience in the 21st Century is either.”