Bridget McKenzie’s sports grants: The Mangoplah-Cookardinia United Eastlakes Football and Netball Club

The Auditor-General’s report last week slammed Senator McKenzie over her handling of the $100 million program, revealing she and her staff intervened hundreds of times to overturn the merit-based assessments of applications for cash from sporting groups.

THE AGE: Nationals leader and Deputy Prime Minister Mr McCormack strongly supported his deputy yesterday and rejected suggestions the program was manipulated to fund his son’s football club, Mangoplah-Cookardinia United Eastlakes Football and Netball Club, in December 2018.

McKenzie and MacCormack in deep discussion. PHOTO: The Australian

At the time Mr McCormack’s son, Alex, was treasurer of the club. He told The Age neither he nor his son had any involvement in the club’s decision to apply, or its application for funding under the program.

‘‘Upon learning the MCUE Club had lodged an application, I alerted Senator McKenzie verbally about my family connection to the club and recused myself from any comment, advocacy or otherwise in relation to this application,’’ Mr McCormack said.

What the cynical observer might think is going on

Nationals leader and Deputy Prime Minister Mr McCormack learns that his son’s footie club, Mangoplah-Cookardinia United Eastlakes Football and Netball Club, has applied for a sports grant.

McCormack then goes to the Minister, Agriculture Minister and deputy leader of the National party Senator Bridget McKenzie and says, “Look my son’s son’s footie club, you’ve probably never heard of it, the Mangoplah-Cookardinia United Eastlakes Football and Netball Club has applied for a grant of $147,000 grant. I want to let you know this so that there will be no implication that I have in any way influenced the success or otherwise of this grant.”

Nudge, nudge, wink, wink.

And what happens as result of this declaration? The Minister, has been made aware of the Mangoplah-Cookardinia United Eastlakes Football and Netball Club and has been made aware of it by her boss.

The Minister has the right of veto over successful applications assessed by government agency Sport Australia and can direct funding where she sees fit.

A right which she is not afraid to exercise.

And what happened to the application from the Mangoplah-Cookardinia United Eastlakes Football and Netball Club.

Strangely, it was successful. 

Which have nothing to do with the fact that the Nationals leader and Deputy Prime Minister Mr McCormack had made it quite clear to the Minister responsible that he did not want to influence the decision-making in any way.

Just as information

Mangoplah is a town south of Wagga Wagga in the Riverina region of New South Wales, Australia. At the 2016 census, Mangoplah had a population of 309

Cookardinia is a locality in the Riverina region of New South Wales, Australia.. Its surrounding area has an approximate population of 283 persons.

Michael McCormack is the member for the Division of Riverina in New South Wales and was born in Wagga Wagga.

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