NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has publicly stated that her corrupt conduct in spending $250 million to pork-barrel the 2019 state election was not illegal. Maybe that is true but it highly likely that her office staff shredding evidence is illegal especially given they knew there were court cases involving councils and that the shredded evidence might be subpoenaed for the court cases.
Pork barrelling is defined as ” “The term “pork‐barrel politics” refers to instances in which ruling parties channel public money to particular constituencies based on political considerations, at the expense of broader public interests”. (Click here to read more) Governments use pork barrelling to win seats they don’t have and to protect seats they do have.
Pork barrelling is in effect stealing from one taxpayer that you know won’t vote for your political party and giving it to another taxpayer so they will vote for your political party. Both Prime Minister Scott Morrison and NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian, who are members of the Liberal Party, have been exposed this year for personally being up to their necks in pork barrelling and both have lied in parliament and to the public about their involvement.
The SMH reported on the 26/11/20
Gladys Berejiklian’s office has recovered copies of shredded documents at the centre of a pork barrelling inquiry, revealing the Premier’s staff directly determined projects to be funded under the controversial $250 million council grants program.
The recovery of the documents, seen by the Herald, comes after the Premier’s office faced months of pressure over the program, including over a failure to produce signed paperwork.
Her office has since come under further scrutiny after it was revealed crucial documents relating to the council grants had been shredded or deleted.
Senior policy adviser Sarah Lau told a parliamentary inquiry last month that she shredded the notes and deleted electronic records as part of her usual document management processes.
Her evidence prompted State Archives to assess the destruction of the documents, while the Information Commissioner has also launched an inquiry. (Click here to read more)
The SMH reported on the 26/11/20
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has accepted the government’s controversial $250 million council grants program may have shored up Coalition votes, insisting the practice of pork barrelling was “not illegal”.
Ms Berejiklian said grants handed out through the program went to 95 per cent Coalition-held seats, because, she said, “Guess what? There are more Coalition seats than any other.”
When repeatedly pressed, Ms Berejiklian said there was no issue with using taxpayers’ money to help the Coalition win seats.
“It’s not an illegal practice. Unfortunately, it does happen from time to time by every government. I don’t know any political party that at some stage hasn’t made commitments to the electorate,” she said. (Click here to read more)
But they only have a couple of extra seats. not 95% of seats, so that is just another lie by Premier Berejiklian.
In 2011, as per the below video, Gladys Berejiklian accused then NSW Premier Kristina Keneally of pork barrelling so how can she now justify it by saying it’s not illegal? If it’s not a crime, why did Gladys complain in 2011?
The SMH reported more evidence of public lies by Premier Gladys Berejiklian on the 26/11/20:
The fresh insight into the handling of the Coalition’s controversial $250 million tied-grants round of the Stronger Communities Fund came with the recovery of missing documents from the Premier’s office and a stunning admission by Ms Berejiklian on Thursday that pork barrelling was not illegal.
Her position followed months of reporting by the Herald on the council grants scheme, including revelations the Premier approved of more than $100 million going to Liberal seats in the lead-up to the 2019 state election. A Labor analysis found 95 per cent of funds had gone to councils in Coalition seats.
The Herald has previously reported the government tried to withhold documents that show bureaucrats concealing Ms Berejiklian’s involvement in the scheme.
In government email correspondence, a draft answer to parliamentary questions said the Premier signed off on the $1 million grant to Hunters Hill, but that answer was struck out and amended.
The amended answer read: “OLG allocated funds based on the Stronger Communities Fund grants guidelines, approved by the former minister for local government in 2018.” (Click here to read more)
If pork barrelling was “not illegal” as Gladys Berejiklian claims why all the lies and why was evidence shredded? And why did the shredded evidence somehow appear after the Information Commissioner launched an inquiry and with the opposition calling for the Independent Commissioner Against Corruption (ICAC) to investigate?
Politicians rarely say something like “it’s not illegal” to justify their corrupt conduct unless it has been “war gamed” by their communications advisers. Gladys was in a lot of trouble because her lies about her involvement in the $240 million pork barrelling were unravelling so much she was forced to hand over the shredded documents because there was at least one inquiry afoot and likely another from ICAC.
The game was up and the best Gladys’s advisors could do was to tell her to say pork barrelling is “not illegal”. The Canberra Press Gallery should ask Scott Morrison what he thinks about pork barrelling not being “illegal”. Will he try the same excuse with the $100 million Sports Rorts pork barrelling?
If Gladys Berejiklian is allowed by the media to get away with the $240 million pork barrelling, then she has been allowed to normalise corruption with the help of the media. As I said at the beginning pork barrelling is stealing from one voter and giving it to another voter so they will vote for your political party which is straight out fraud and theft.
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