Morrison government frontbencher Peter Dutton is under attack after being accused him of funnelling money into marginal seats.
Labor’s government accountability spokeswoman Kristina Keneally has accused Mr Dutton of rejecting advice from experts and the Department of Home Affairs and giving grants to Liberal-held and marginal independent and Labor seats in 2018.
Her claims, which have been vehemently denied by Mr Dutton, follow an ABC report revealing that just five of 53 fund grants for infrastructure to boost security and prevent crime were given to safe Labor seats.
The report also alleged that Mr Dutton was warned against funding Tasmanian council projects announced days before the Braddon by-election because the department said they were not “value for money”.
However, the projects were funded because he said he believed it would improve safety in the communities.
The ABC report also highlighted a one-off grant outside of the safer communities program that was given to the National Retail Association to educate people about terrorist attack responses.
The association made a donation to the Queensland LNP in November 2018, and barely a week after the donation was made, the ABC reports that the minister’s office asked for the grant to be fast-tracked.
“Minister Peter Dutton accepted a political donation from an organisation, and then a week later gave them a grant,” Senator Keneally told ABC Breakfast.
“This looks, on the face of it, worse than the sports rorts scandal that saw the resignation of then minister Bridget McKenzie,” Senator Keneally said.
“The Liberals treat taxpayer money as if it is Liberal Party money.”
In a statement to the ABC, Mr Dutton said: “The baseless suggestion that I have or would be influenced by a lawful donation to the LNP is false and highly defamatory.
“The suggestion that the government has done anything other than support projects worthy of support is nonsense.
“Partisan commentary from Labor-aligned councils and former Labor members is hardly reflective of impartial reporting.”
Senator Keneally said the parliament needed more scrutiny and transparency.
“Peter Dutton needs to come clean today,” she said.