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Aspen Medical scandal shows we need to kick the corporations out of Canberra

Media Release
Larissa Waters 3 May 2022

The Greens say the Aspen Medical scandal confirms the Morrison Government as the dodgiest and most irresponsible in Australian history.

Lines attributable to Greens deputy leader and spokesperson on democracy Senator Larissa Waters:

“At a time when the cost of living and rents are soaring, when many Australians are having to choose between buying school books for their kids or putting food on the table, we learn of yet another Morrison Government favour for its corporate mates.

“Keeping people safe during the pandemic was a critical government role. Robust and transparent procurement of PPE was essential, yet the government handed more than one billion dollars to a Liberal-linked company with zero experience in large-scale procurement with no tender process. Minister Hunt even wrote them a letter of endorsement!  

“The government has form with this kind of reckless spending and disregard for due process. Malcolm Turnbull ignored transparency rules and gifted $444 million to the Great Barrier Reef Foundation, entrusting protection of one of Australia’s most precious assets to a fledgling organisation with only a handful of staff. 

“When Peter Dutton needed someone to run his inhumane refugee prisons, he awarded $423 million without tender to the Paladin Group, an inexperienced firm with almost no money and a head office at a beach shack on Kangaroo Island.

“This government is addicted to outsourcing critical services, which makes everything more expensive and less transparent. They have hollowed out the Australian Public Service and waste billions on private companies and consultants instead - who just happen to be generous political donors. 

“Instead of favours for donors, the Greens would invest in future pandemic preparedness with an independent National Centre for Disease Control making critical health decisions. We would build capacity to manufacture locally, and pay healthcare workers properly so we have a bigger workforce pool.

“We’d also restore the APS by lifting staffing to match 2012 levels, raising APS wages by 4% per annum over the next four years, and limiting outsourcing to labour hire firms and big consultancy firms.

“And we’ll continue our fight to restore public faith in our democracy by closing the revolving door between parliament and big business, banning dirty donations from dodgy industries, capping all other donations, implementing enforceable ministerial standards and establishing a robust and independent National Integrity Commission.”

“Scott Morrison has presided over more rorting than any Prime Minister before him. He has shown a complete disregard for transparency, due process and good investment of public funds. This is a government more interested in supporting its mates and buying elections, than in investing in a better future.

“It is the most secretive, unaccountable government in history and I cannot wait to see the back of them in three weeks’ time.”

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