(Image: Mitchell Squire/Private Media)

This morning Crikey asked the prime minister’s media team — consisting of five advisers each contacted individually — whether Scott Morrison was aware of allegations of bullying against Liberal MP Karen Andrews before he elevated her to home affairs minister.

A former staffer on stress leave from her office raised a complaint in August claiming Andrews bullied, humiliated and victimised her for six months. Andrews strenuously ­rejects the claims.

Crikey didn’t get a response — not even a “no comment” — and frankly didn’t expect to. Our inquiries have been ignored, our calls not returned, and our questions left unanswered for months, with senior media adviser Nick Creevey saying last week: “We’ll come back to you if we can.”

Below is a list of questions asked by me, David Hardaker, Kishor-Napier Raman and Charlie Lewis, all of which were ignored by the office.

Karen Andrews, allegations of bullying, March 31

  • Did the prime minister know about the allegations against Karen Andrews prior to her being elevated to home affairs minister?
  • I’m also looking into the lack of responses to Crikey’s questions across the past six months. Is there a specific reason PMO has been unable to respond to our media requests?

Training on sexual violence, March 26

  • The PM has repeatedly said — including in the interview with Tracy Grimshaw last night — that he is “listening and learning” about gendered violence. Who is he being briefed by or is learning from? Have any of the major organisations addressing gendered violence provided training for him?
  • I also called the other day and spoke to Kieran [Byrne] to confirm who is working as the PM’s media adviser as I understand there have been some changes, and never heard back. My previous three media inquiries have also not been responded to, so I’d appreciate a response in this instance.

Contacting friends of Christian Porter’s accuser, March 4

  • I’m looking for confirmation as to whether anyone from the Morrison government contacted the friends who provided contact details in the letter outlining the allegations of rape provided to Scott Morrison last week.

Allegation of assault (before Porter named himself), March 1

  • I’m inquiring into the allegations of sexual assault of a current cabinet minister outlined in a police statement recently distributed to politicians. Is the prime minister named in the statement?

[email protected] report, February 17

  • Whether the PMO has enacted recommendations from the [email protected] report — specifically recommendation 4.7: All Australian governments have strategies for the prevention of violence against women that are based on Change the Story, recognise that sexual harassment is driven by gender inequality and is a form of gender-based violence, and include the prevention of sexual harassment as a key area for action.
  • Given the findings of the report, does the PMO deem it appropriate to appoint internal Liberal MPs to review workplace culture instead of an independent body?
  • Following the allegations, does the government have plans to ratify ILO Convention concerning the elimination of violence and harassment in the world of work (ILO 190) (again recommended by the report?)
  • This media request was followed up on February 23 when it was ignored again.

Brittany Higgins’ allegation, February 16

  • Whether the PMO will implement new procedures, protocols or training for staff and ministers following Higgins’ complaints.

QAnon, January 19

Tim Stewart (wife Lynelle works with the PM’s wife) has tweeted that Jan 6 — the day of the Capitol Hill attack in the US — will be remembered as “one of the greatest days on earth”.

  • What is the PM’s view of this commentary?
  • What security is in place to ensure Mr Stewart and his son Jesse (also a QAnon adherent) are not privy to confidential information affecting the PM?
  • Any comment on the role of QAnon in Australia or the US?

Sports rorts, December 21, 2020

  • What role, if any, did the prime minister’s office play in administering the sports grants?
  • The prime minister has repeatedly said the former sports minister’s office was in charge of the grants process. How does this account for the 136 emails relating to the grants between the PMO and McKenzie’s office?
  • Legal experts told the Senate inquiry the sports grants scheme was potentially both unconstitutional, and that the minister may have acted beyond her authority. Do you agree with this assessment?
  • The prime minister has previously said political considerations were not a determining factor in how the grants were allocated. Does this mean the Australian National Audit Office’s conclusions were incorrect?
  • Sources raised concerns about Phil Gaetjens, Mr Morrison’s former chief of staff, reviewing the program. Are those concerns valid?
  • Why has Mr Gaetjens’ report not been publicly released?

COVID-19, October 8, 2020

Crikey is running a piece about what would happen if the prime minister was to contract COVID-19. What plans are in place in terms of:

  • Where he would be treated — would it be a public hospital, or would he be treated privately?
  • Is there a figure within government or the public service who acts as the prime minister’s physician?
  • What would the procedure be around isolating those who had come into contact with him?

Peter Fray

Help us keep up the fight

Get Crikey for just $1 a week and support our journalists’ important work of uncovering the hypocrisies that infest our corridors of power.

If you haven’t joined us yet, subscribe today to get your first 12 weeks for $12 and get the journalism you need to navigate the spin.

Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

JOIN NOW