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Coronavirus Australia live update: doctors call on Morrison to provide national advice on face masks – latest news

The secretary of the department of prime minister and cabinet, Phil Gaetjens, is appearing at the sports grant inquiry to answer questions about his report finding Bridget McKenzie had breached ministerial standards because she had an “actual conflict of interest” in one grant given through the Community Sport Infrastructure Grant program.

More controversially, Gaetjens found that McKenzie was not “unduly influenced” by whether seats were marginal or targets — a departure from the audit office, which found the program was targeted at such seats by the former sports minister’s decisions.

Asked about changes to the list of round three grants made after the government entered caretaker on 11 April, Gaetjens told the Senate committee he did not inquire into the issue because it wasn’t known at the time.

Explaining why he did not do so, Gaetjens replied:

By that time the minister had resigned. Why does one have to look at it when the minister had resigned?

Asked about McKenzie’s evidence she didn’t make changes after 4 April, he replied:

I’m sorry, I’ve got no role in that. The minister had resigned. What else could I do …I was asked to inquire into an apparent breach of standards, I did that and she resigned.

Nor did Gaetjens obtain emails exchanged between McKenzie’s office and the prime minister’s office. Gaetjens said that McKenzie’s conduct was the “object of the inquiry” – not the involvement of the prime minister’s office or a fresh audit of the CSIG program.
Gaetjens says his report was both accurate and complete.

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