Thursday, February 10, 2005

code of conduct? what code of conduct? new story, same old line.

Oh my goodness, once again we have a Howard government Minister who is being called to account for his actions blaming someone else.

Minister for Local Government, Jim Lloyd was hammered yesterday over the regional development slush fund used in the last election. I will try and keep this short(!).

Just before that fateful day in October, a $1.5m grant from the ‘regional partnerships’ scheme (aka “marginal seat slush fund”) was announced to for the dredging of the mouth of Tumbi Crk in the electorate of Dobell. Jim Lloyd, as a junior Minister in the Department of Transport and Regional Services was responsible for this barrelling of pork allocation of funds.
In November were heavy rains, which led to the mouth of the creek being cleared, which was noted by the Wyong Council, who were interested in redirecting some of this money. DTRS also were aware of this. Graeme Hallett, a special advisor to Minister Lloyd sent an email to DTRS, saying that;
“The commitment by the Howard government to the electors of Dobell, in partnership with Wyong Council, is non-negotiable. It is the position of [Dobell MP Ken] Ticehurst that the money should be delivered as agreed for the works in the schedule of the agreement under regional partnerships.”

DTRS proceeded to ask Wyong Council if they wanted to revise their plan (since they no longer needed to dredge the creek). Hallett then advised the council that;
“Any changes means less federal money, so the Wyong officials should keep their counsel on this if we want the total allocated by the Prime Minister for Tumbi Creek.”

(ie. As representative of Minister Lloyd, I am advising you to deceptively withold information from the DTRS so that you can get the money we scammed for you in the first place)

Wyong Council went back to the original idea of dredging the creek.

Yesterday, Kim Beazley brings all this up in Parliament accusing the special advisor to the Minister of “attempting to defraud the Commonwealth”. Lloyd responds by saying that there is nothing wrong at all, and this is all a result of;
“a poorly worded email. The staff member has been counselled ... it was stupidly worded.”

Apparently the email advising the Council to keep their counsel (!) was intended to
“inform council that the funds that were allocated for the dredging of Tumbi creek could only be used for the dredging of Tumbi creek.”

That's exactly what it sounds like to me.


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