noun . the acquisition of gain or advantage by dishonest, unfair, or shady means, especially through the abuse of one's position or influence in politics, business, etc.
On the front page of the Age* today, it was reported that an astonishing 16 out of the 27 ‘special sports grants’ awarded prior to the federal election last year went to the one seat of Mcewen, held by the Minister for Small Business and Tourism, Fran Bailey. The Liberals had only held the seat in the 2001 election by a slender 1.04 percent advantage, and so there was a considerable realistic chance that the ‘honourable’ member would not get re-elected.
The article also points out that another 6 of the grants went to another marginal Liberal seat, Makin, where Trish Draper (who we know is not averse to a good rort if she can find one) was re-elected.
Minister for Sports, Rod Kemp says that there is no problem, because over half of the total money awarded went to Labour seats — it is my thought that John Howard chucked $8 million at Whitten oval in Footscray (a non-marginal ALP seat) precisely so that this line of defence could be offered.
Apparently, a “dozen of the grants were for $10,000, regardless of the cost of the upgrade they were undertaking”. As Labor's regional development spokesman, Kelvin Thomson, said the pattern of grants had “all the hallmarks of election bribes”. Thomson goes on to say;
“One electorate gets more projects than the other 149 electorates around Australia combined, and 12 of the 16 projects just happen to be for the same amount. What an astonishing coincidence.If something like this were to happen in Papua New Guinea or the Solomons, the World Bank or the IMF would cry graft.”
Another coincidence is that Bailey had a favourable swing of 5.18 percent in the 2004 election. It works.