Prime Minister Scott Morrison

Scott Morrison’s Hillsong mate Leigh Coleman who has allegations of fraud and bribery against him given $42 million in government grants

Leigh Coleman who is a former Hillsong Church executive and close friend of Prime Minister Scott Morrison has had numerous allegations of fraud made against him over the last 15 years including attempted bribery yet his company ServeGate Australia has still managed to be awarded $43 million in government contracts since 2015. 

During the same period that ServeGate Australia was being awarded the $43 million in contracts due to the “strong business relations with decision-makers at very high levels including Ministers” as their website says, Scott Morrison was appointed Treasurer in September 2015 and became Prime Minister in August 2018. So was Scott Morrison involved in any way?

ServeGate Australia is now a registered tax-free charity and its operations are suspicious to say the least where they don’t seem to do much work except take a percentage off the top and then sub-contract the real work out to other companies. This has been exposed in an article in The Guardian but we’ll get back to that in a minute because we should look at Leigh Coleman’s past handiwork first of fraud and bribery allegations when he was at Hillsong Church and an organisation called Many Rivers which is also a registered tax-free charity.

Leigh Coleman’s fraud and theft from Aboriginies while working at Hillsong Church 

In 2005 allegations were made that Leigh Armstrong and Hillsong Church tried a swifty to rip off the Riverstone Aboriginal Community Association but when caught out they tried to bribe them to keep quiet. The SMH reported:

THE Hillsong Church has denied it used an Aboriginal community to secure a federal grant and then tried to bribe the community to keep silent.

A Labor MP, Ian West, told the NSW Parliament last month the church’s charitable arm, Hillsong Emerge, “misused” the Riverstone Aboriginal Community Association to apply for a $415,000 crime-prevention grant from the Federal Government.

Mr West said Hillsong used the community “to get taxpayers’ money for its own purposes” and then “lamely tried to dole out some of the money in return for their co-option”.

“Taxpayer funding which is needed for local disadvantaged communities is now being channelled directly into Hillsong’s bank accounts,” he said.

Mr West said Hillsong plagiarised funding proposals which were supposed to be made as part of a joint application with the Riverstone association.

In August, the Prime Minister, John Howard, announced the grant to Hillsong but did not mention the involvement of Riverstone or any other partners.
 

The head of Hillsong, Leigh Coleman, later wrote to the community offering to give it $280,000 from the grant.

Mr West said this was an attempt “to pay off the Riverstone Aboriginal Community Association in return for its silence”.

Last week he told Parliament he had since been branded a “liar” during Hillsong services. (Click here to read more)

Mr West being “branded a “liar” during Hillsong services” suggests Brian Houston was involved at least to some degree.

In 2006 Leigh Coleman’s operation at Hillsong Emerge – the evangelical group’s former benevolent arm – had its funding discontinued after revelations the vast majority of taxpayer dollars went to employing staff. (Click here to read more)

It was also reported in 2006:

Indigenous development grants to Hillsong‘s benevolent arm have gone almost entirely to employing and providing offices for church staff, with only a trickle reaching Aborigines.

In one case, Hillsong Emerge spent $315,000 in federal funds employing seven of its own staff in Sydney to administer a “micro-credit” project that made only six loans to Aborigines worth an average of $2856 each.

Hillsong also failed to enable a single Aborigine to become self-employed under a $610,968 federal grant to encourage indigenous entrepreneurship. The $610,968 grant was approved in just three weeks, and Hillsong faced no competition since it was the only applicant.

The revelations are contained in answers from senator Eric Abetz, representing Employment Minister Kevin Andrews, to a detailed series of questions on notice from Labor’s indigenous affairs spokesman, Chris Evans.

They show that far more funds are spent on Hillsong staffers and administration than actual service delivery. One federal grant paid $965,421 to Hillsong Emerge to administer $280,000 in loan funds. (Click here to read more)

No need to worry about Leigh Coleman: “In 2006 it was reported the Federal Government admitted he received $80,000 of federal indigenous development funds to top up his salary, despite having only indirect involvement in projects run by Hillsong Emerge. Mr Coleman declined to comment.” (Click here to read more)

Leigh Coleman’s fraud and theft from Aboriginies while working at Many Rivers Microfinance

In 2011 News.com reported:

A CHRISTIAN charity which has so far spent more than $1.3 million to generate just $330,000 in loans for Indigenous Australians is being investigated.

Many Rivers Microfinance is run by a former Hillsong executive who has already come under parliamentary scrutiny over an earlier loans program that delivered only a trickle of funds to the Indigenous community.

In 2006 Leigh Coleman’s operation at Hillsong Emerge – the evangelical group’s former benevolent arm – had its funding discontinued after revelations the vast majority of taxpayer dollars went to employing staff.

Mr Coleman’s current program at Many Rivers has since successfully raised millions of dollars from the Federal Government and some of the country’s biggest companies including Rio Tinto, BHP Billiton and Westpac.

But since its inception in 2007 to the end of the 2010 financial year the latest available records show it has delivered just 74 microenterprise loans worth a total of $330,000.

While declining to provide evidence as to how the reported $1.375 million had been spent delivering them, the charity said that – like the discontinued Hillsong pilot – the bulk had gone on staff salaries and training.

Mr Coleman, who is chief executive officer, a director and also a company member of Many Rivers, declined requests to be interviewed. (Click here to read more)

The picture below is from News.com

Leigh Coleman

Leigh Coleman speaking in support of a controversial Hillsong superchurch in Sydney where he identified himself as a “local resident”. The proposed church failed to attract community support and was withdrawn. Vera Coleman is seated bottom left.

Leigh Coleman seems to be a serial fraudster who uses also charities to dog tax and avoid accountability. 

Leigh Coleman and his new tax-free charity ServeGate Australia

The Guardian published an article on the 4/9/20 titled “The unconventional charity run by Scott Morrison’s ‘dear friend’ Leigh Coleman” which starts off:

A company founded and run by a man the prime minister, Scott Morrison, describes as “a very dear friend” has received more than $43m in government contracts since 2015, mostly from defence, while being a registered charity helping Indigenous businesses with advice.

The company, ServeGate Australia, has as its founding CEO Leigh Coleman, who Morrison mentioned in his maiden speech as a key influence on his life. Its nominated charitable purposes are to increase Aboriginal employment and reduce welfare dependency.

The unconventional ServeGate model – described by Coleman as “unique” – involves contracting with the commonwealth government then subcontracting the work to conventional – almost all non-Indigenous – small and medium professional services companies.

Profits from the government work subsidise Coleman and other staff members’ salaries while they provide advice to a small number of selected Indigenous businesses.

The company’s website makes no mention of its charity status, and some companies that received subcontracted work through ServeGate have told Guardian Australia they were not aware it was a charity. (Click here to read more)

The Guardian article is well researched and left me in no doubt that Leigh Coleman is up to his old tricks as the company is very light on detail when asked basic questions and their answers are contradicted by others which suggest they are lying. 

It’s no surprise that friends of Scott Morrison are involved in government fraud. Scott Morrison’s good mates David Gazard and Peter Costello have done very well out of Australia’s $50 billion submarine contract because of their links to Morrison. (Click here to read more) And Peter Costello returned the favour by using his position as Nine Entertainment Chairman and had a fundraiser at Channel Nine studios at Sydney to raise $700,000 for the Liberal Party. (Click here to read more)

It should be remembered that Scott Morrison was sacked by the Liberal Party in 2006 for likely fraud when he was Managing Director of Tourism Australia. I wrote an article on the matter which started off: 

Prime Minister Scott Morrison was sacked as Managing Director of Tourism Australia in 2006 and he has always refused to say why. One thing is for certain, it had to be massive wrongdoing by Morrison. Why? Because Scott Morrison, who was State Director of the New South Wales Liberal Party from 2000 to 2004, was sacked by a Liberal Party Minister in the Liberal Party John Howard government and they don’t sack one of their own for a minor reason or even a major reason. Morrison’s sacking had to be something, at the very least, bordering on criminal and more than likely actual criminal conduct. (Click here to read more)

The question that Scott Morrison needs to answer is what involvement has he had helping Leigh Coleman and his so-called charity ServeGate Australia getting the $43 million in government contracts?

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10 replies »

  1. Show me one enterprise associated with Aboriginal welfare or employment that is successful and someone has not been tickling peter along the way. Over 50 years watching it all I am probably now jealous that I have been out of the loop.

  2. It’s all becoming very tiresome, especially if you are awake to the machinations occurring in the US President election. Is this type of corruption happening under Liberal/Conservative governments only, or has it happened under Labor government too? They say only believe half of what is said and read, but which half? Articles in CNN, Fox, SMH, Telegraph, ABC, The Australian. If I am surrounded by brainwashed liars, or rusted-on believers, I guess it’s obvious I have no chance making sense of all this.

  3. @Frank Scargill I wouldn’t trust anything from any of the sources you listed, with perhaps the ABC being an exception. We know for certain that this current government is up to its neck in corruption, with unfettered “grants” to big party donors (much of which would be finding its way straight back to Liberal and National party coffers; Watergate; Grassgate etc, etc. None of which you’ll read about in the MSM. As for whether Labor is also corrupt, which party campaigned on setting up and independent federal ICAC? It certainly wasn’t the conservatives.

  4. Labor is not perfect by far, but open corruption such as what Kangaroo Court, amongst others, have reported for some years now – well it staggers the mind. Worse, when they are so blatant, so obvious and yet the media cover it all up. But then we all know that PMs from Abbott to the incumbent GIVE $$$ to Darth Vader’s father, Rupert Murdoch

  5. Why are we not on the streets in mass enduring protests (this can happen whilst even taking Covid-19 safety measures into account), demanding an end to government corruption and a citizens committee (existing of people not tied to any politician) that helps decide how our hard earned money (but paid in taxes), gets spent?

    Why are we not demanding punishment for corrupt government members, just like they would if common citizens would be guilty of corruption?

    Why are we not demanding a multiple party (more than two) government, that works, just like in many other countries? It works, because there is something for everyone to vote for, and with multiple parties, votes are more spread out, so cooperation to gain temporary power is much more needed between larger and smaller parties. Adding more supervision and accountability when things are not right!

    Two party systems, for example in the US, the UK and Australia, haven’t worked for decades, and sure as hell don’t work in our world as it is today.
    Too much has changed in the world, during the past decades, but unfortunately not our political and government systems. And that is the problem!!

    We need honesty, transparency, democracy and politicians who will do what is stated in their job description, which is not enrich themselves and play dirty games doing so, thinking that citizens are stupid, but protect the citizens who vote for them and protect the country and it’s environment they ALL live in!!!

    Oh well, maybe I’m simplifying things too much…

    • So true Suzanne. The degree to which we have a 2 party system, is due to our undemocratic election system. Proportional representation, such that Parliament would then represent us, would cure many ills. A minor party with its fair share of members could show its worth or otherwise, grow to an alternative voice, etc .. or disappear. But it would be democratic. The Greens, for example, would have 15 lower house seats when they’re fortunate to have 1. Easily judged by the electorate, as would be One Nation as another example. Why should small parties be disadvantaged by their voters’ addresses? Beaut, and thanks. You didn’t over-simplify it.

  6. @Greg Davies thanks for clarifying the who you can trust case for me. Quote: “As for whether Labor is also corrupt, which party campaigned on setting up and independent federal ICAC? It certainly wasn’t the conservatives” Unquote. I feel that it was a political stunt by Labor because neither party want to be exorcised. Take a look at the ACT Labor government who have been in power for about two decades. They followed the line of Federal Labor, but have not done anything about an ICAC for the ACT. Why! because there are a heap of corruption problems, not least with planning and development contracts etc. I am not of the left or the right, all I would like to see are statements that reflect a degree of reasonable balance not obvious bias; it corrupts discourse.

  7. This link might inform. Though it was first registered on 19 November 2015, ServeGate Australia Pty Ltd was only given charity status with the ACNC in 11 February 2019. Note that “Not entitled to receive tax deductible gifts” which is similar to the majority of not-for-profit entities.

    https://abr.business.gov.au/ABN/View?abn=56609386156

    It was awarded government contracts well before it obtained ACNC registration –

    https://contracts.disclosurelo.gs/displaySupplier.php?supplier=-ServeGate%20Australia%20Pty%20Ltd

    Servegate Australia Pty Ltd operates through a membership scheme and those members are the subcontractors who get the work, with Servegate Australia Pty Ltd acting as project manager. “ServeGate – A collaborative gateway and facilitator for Small & Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to access Government & Industry contracts.”

    https://www.servegate.com.au/membership/

    Its ACNC details inform us further

    https://www.acnc.gov.au/charity/efabdbe726f053dff3299e92a82b464e

    As for its financials, they are here –

    https://www.acnc.gov.au/charity/efabdbe726f053dff3299e92a82b464e

    Note the strategies and objectives in this document being the Financial Report –

    https://acncpubfilesprodstorage.blob.core.windows.net/public/a6b0cbb7-3aaf-e811-a95e-000d3ad24c60-7aaa9a68-fafe-4e57-a461-94fedf1247e5-Financial%20Report-827877f7-2be8-ea11-a817-000d3acb05bc-SGA_Annual_Report_FY19.pdf

    Its constitution filed with ACNC –

    https://acncpubfilesprodstorage.blob.core.windows.net/public/a6b0cbb7-3aaf-e811-a95e-000d3ad24c60-7aaa9a68-fafe-4e57-a461-94fedf1247e5-Governing%20Document-931f5678-be14-ea11-a811-000d3ad1cf4f-ServeGate_Australia_Pty_Ltd_Constitution_Charity_Final_190211_Signed.pdf

    If people believe that there is something untoward with this charity Servegate Australia Pty Ltd then there is an avenue of complaint to the ACNC

    https://www.acnc.gov.au/raise-concern/concerns-about-charities/how-raise-concern

    Note the Servegate entities of which Servegate Australia Pty Ltd is one –

    https://abr.business.gov.au/Search/ResultsActive?SearchText=ServeGate%20Australia

  8. Religions are all about controlling those who want to believe the spin of the smarter leaders of the faith. The not so smart rank and file of the faith simple facilitate these leaders to deceive them and seek government funding via corrupt means. They never learn and so the practice continues. More fool them.

  9. Leigh Coleman being a “dear friend and key influence” in Morrison’s life, Hillsong Church, tax-free charity, ServeGate, “strong business relations with decision-makers at very high levels including Ministers”, Evangelical? accusations of fraud: find the links and connect the dots!

    And Australians think this is all okay?? I guess so, as they’re not on the streets demanding justice and an end to high corruption, an end to handing out our hard earned tax dollars to mates of politicians and a total turn around in our political system!!

    I’m not seeing a link between defence contracts and indigenous companies, but maybe it’s just me!!! As our government refuses to create true reconciliation, it should not have mates and “key influencers in politicians lives” involved in indigenous matters or so called “giving advice”, because that ends up being a form of self serving for government and it’s mates and never in the best interests of the First Nations People. It’s always been like that, unfortunately!!!

    So, we can complain, but what are we really doing about all of this???

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