I note even government members opposite couldn’t keep a straight face when talking about their level of integrity.
I really want to talk today about the sports rorts and about what that means in my community in Jagajaga. In Jagajaga, we’ve got more than 100 sporting clubs. We love our sports. Every time I am out and about, people tell me how busy they are caring for their club and playing on a Saturday—and how they need new facilities and how they’re stretched and how they need some funding support. Do you know what the Greensborough Hockey Club did through the Nillumbik shire? They applied for some funding support. They applied for some funding support through a now-famous funding sports grants program. They were rated by Sport Australia as quite deserving of this funding. In fact, they received 89 out of 100.
The Greensborough Hockey Club, a great hockey club run by some great people, were found to be very deserving of their new pavilion—$500,000. Now, imagine their surprise when they didn’t receive this money. And we now know why they didn’t receive this money. They didn’t receive this money because this government is more interested in rorting, it’s more interested in playing political games with taxpayer funds, than it is in supporting local sporting clubs.
I’ve got a direct contrast here, in fact. A constituent of mine called my office late in January. His son played for the Toorak East Malvern Hockey Club. They share a facility with the Hawthorn Hockey Club in the wealthy, leafy electorate of Kooyong next door. This, of course, is the Treasurer’s seat.
Now, my constituent is quite involved in the affairs of the Toorak East Malvern Hockey Club. On 26 April last year, during the caretaker period, he received an email from this club’s leadership. He, along with all the other teams and players, received this email inviting him along to an ‘urgent additional training event’ that night. They were told to wear their full club uniforms. When they got there, it was for a photo-op with their local member, the member for Kooyong, who announced $500,000 for a club pavilion redevelopment—during the caretaker period. There you go! So, Greensborough Hockey Club rated 89 out of 100—no funding. Next door in Kooyong—$500,000. Do you know what they were rated by Sport Australia?
Sixty-three out of 100. A process is set up and there’s work done under that process—to rate these clubs, to look at what’s needed, who’s doing the work, where clubs need extra support—and that’s thrown out the window by this government. A very wealthy part of Melbourne, where facilities are, as this club member said, already ‘first-class’, receives funding. In my electorate—because they had the gall to elect a Labor member—they were overlooked.
The La Trobe hockey club is one of the most run-down—I think that’s how they described it—clubs in the country. They have asbestos in their club rooms, no lighting, no female change facilities, no canteen. In fact, their vice-president described their clubs as ‘looking like the place they filmed Chernobyl in’. You get the picture. They missed out. The member for Cooper and I share a boundary, and I know the member for Cooper has been fighting very hard for this club but, again, compare and contrast: member for Kooyong—his facility rated 63 out of 100—$500,000 in funding. In my electorate—the Greensborough Hockey Club, rated 89 out of 100—no funding.
This really goes to the heart of the problem with this government—and Australians see it. That’s why my constituents are ringing up my office and telling me, ‘This stinks!’ They know and the people who are members of this club know that what that government is doing is wrong. They thought they were getting a leader. Instead, they’ve got a marketing man spending taxpayers’ money outside the rules with no probity and no proper process. And when he’s called out on it, what’s the response? Is he looking at how he might raise standards? Is he thinking about how people are a bit disappointed with him and that he could do better? No, none of this. Instead, he points across the room and he says, ‘It’s okay, because that guy over there did it first.’ Well, that’s not the case, but what a response! I think we all found out in grade 1 that pointing out across the room and saying, ‘Mum, I was just copying him!’ is not an excuse. You’re the Prime Minister. Have some standards. Get some guts. Do it right. Follow the process. Australians expect that of you.