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Bolt Report, Sky New, 28 August 2023

Andrew Bolt: Who put that gag into the compensation deal to stop people talking about it?

Senator Henderson: Well, Andrew, good evening. Great to join you. As we heard in evidence today and of course, the shock of this axeing is still ricocheting throughout regional Victoria, including in Geelong where I am based. Just absolutely appalling. But we learnt that the gag was imposed by the Victorian government. The Commonwealth Games Association gave evidence, they didn’t want it, but $380 million of taxpayers’ money just, you know, disappeared against the wall. I won’t use the uncouth term, but it is absolutely appalling. As I say, Andrew, this government and this Premier is treating Victorians with absolute contempt, and we saw that in spades today. He did not even have the courtesy to attend the inquiry. The responsible minister, Jacinta Allan, she did not show, nor did any official from the Victorian government.

Andrew Bolt: That’s a shocker. You know, Sarah, what really offends me about this gag order, right? You cannot waste $380 million taken from taxpayers who, you know, God knows a lot of people would want that money in their own pockets. Still just throw it against the wall and then gag the Commonwealth Games from telling anyone how it actually got to this stage, how it went so badly and not telling anyone yourself. How did that gag or agreement in this deal affect your hearings today?

Senator Henderson: Well, there were so many questions that couldn’t be answered. And we saw Ernst and Young, which prepared the business case, and mind you, the business case demonstrated that the worst case scenario was that the Victorian Government did not plan to put any infrastructure funding into the Commonwealth Games. And there was also a worst case scenario of $0 for housing. So there is something very wrong about the business case. But again we saw ducking and weaving from Ernst and Young, which could not answer a direct question. And then of course, we also heard from Martin Pakula, the former minister. He didn’t make the decision, of course, we did ask him. I specifically said to him, “how do you explain the $4 billion difference?” So it was about 2.5, $2.6 billion in May and suddenly the budget is 6 to $7 billion. I mean, that is just inconceivable. He couldn’t explain it. He’s taken those questions on notice. But Victorians deserve to know. That’s the bottom line, Andrew, Victorians deserve to know the level of incompetence from this government that it’s just absolutely appalling.

Andrew Bolt: And the Commonwealth Games officials saying, “I’m sorry, we can’t comment.” I mean because it’s just so contemptuous of taxpayers who actually paid for this waste of money. Can you tell me, by the way, Sarah, you used to be an ABC journalist. I mentioned Leigh Sales telling all ABC staff with the ABC’s support to reject anyone saying that the Uluru statement was more than one page. Is that her job to enforce groupthink in the ABC, that’s helpful to the Albanese Government, moreover?

Senator Henderson: Well, Andrew, regrettably Leigh Sales, who has got a formidable reputation as a very good journalist, was sounding like a spokesperson for the Albanese Government. I mean this is unprecedented. Andrew. I worked at the ABC for nine years, never once was a particular view imposed on the ABC and in fact it defies good journalism, which of course is all about ascertaining the facts, weighing up the evidence.  And Leigh Sales in reaching this conclusion has ignored the fact that Professor Megan Davis, a co-author of the Uluru statement, said on twelve separate occasions that the Uluru statement was 18 pages. And of course, Media Watch has highlighted the fact that this is at the very least a contested issue. But it is absolutely disgraceful and it is more evidence, Andrew, that the journalistic standards at the ABC are rapidly declining. It is just not good enough. But what is David Anderson doing? Someone who has no background in using current affairs. He does absolutely nothing to enforce proper standards of journalism at the ABC.

Andrew Bolt: But what I find incredible is the arrogance of the ABC should speak with one voice, and that’s of course why the ABC, not a single ABC journalist, for instance, said George Pell was innocent, which he was. Not one. And of course, they speak with one voice in global warming, just like that. Sarah Henderson, great work today. I saw you at work watching some of the proceedings today. Thank you so much for coming on.

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