Game of mates
Sly ScoMo caught in another “money for mates” visa scandal
By Unconventional Economist in Australian Politicsat 11:00 am on November 11, 2021 | 10 comments
Recall that the Morrison Government tried to privatise Australia’s visa system with a proposal to allow the private Australian Visa Processing consortium spearheaded by Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s friend to take over visa processing.
As explained in The Australian in 2018:
Liberal Party heavyweight Scott Briggs — a close friend and political ally of Scott Morrison and a former professional colleague of new Immigration Minister David Coleman — is driving a bid to win a visa-processing contract understood to be valued at up to $1 billion.
…According to their respective CVs, Mr Briggs — the chief executive of Pacific Blue Capital, which holds a 19 per cent stake in the Australian Visa Processing consortium — worked with Mr Coleman at PBL Media and Nine Entertainment Co across a six-year period.
Scott Briggs was closely linked to Scott Morrison’s leadership bid against Mr Dutton in August 2018. He is also the president of Morrison’s federal electoral conference in his Sydney electorate of Cook.
Thankfully, the visa privatisation plan was put on ice after the web of conflict-of-interests were discovered, alongside the emergence of the coronavirus.
But now Scott Briggs and another Morrison mate are attempting to win a lucrative contract from the government to process migrants through privately run quarantine facilities:
A company established by an influential Liberal party figure claims it could bring up to 160,000 foreign workers and students a year into Australia via a private hotel quarantine system with support from the Home Affairs Department.
Quarantine Services Australia (QSA) was officially registered as a company on August 30 by former deputy NSW Liberal Party director Scott Briggs…
Two weeks earlier, another company linked to Mr Briggs, DPG Advisory Solutions, was awarded a $79,500 “limited tender” contract by the Home Affairs department to provide “consultancy services” to help develop the proposal…
DPG Advisory Solutions was founded and run by former Liberal Party candidate David Gazard, who previously worked as a Coalition ministerial adviser and journalist and is also a close confidant of Mr Morrison…
An “industry update” distributed by QSA this week confirmed “Home Affairs engaged DPG to help facilitate an Industry led and funded quarantine capability in line with Commonwealth Government policy”…
“QSA [was] established as user funded and operated quarantine service capable of processing up to 80,000 Skilled Labour Immigrants (SLI) a year, together with a similar number of student visa holders, in state government compliant facilities across Australia”…
QSA’s “indicative pricing” for quarantine support is as high as $12,500 for full 14-day stints, or between $2,700 and $4,700 for shorter three-day “catch and release” places.
Labor has slammed the plan which again stinks of conflicts-of-of interests:
Shadow Home Affairs Minister Kristina Keneally described the QSA venture as a “money-for-mates” proposition full of conflicts of interests.
“How does it come to pass that the Prime Minister’s two best mates are the only two people that the Department of Home Affairs has approached to set up a fee-for-service, privatised quarantine system?”
The ‘Game of Mates’ runs strong in the Morrison Government.
A pearler from last year…
“There are some fishy things unfolding in visa land already…..
I have a been made aware of a disturbing concept this evening – if anyone within the Department of Home Affairs or Human Services, or somewhere in the Public Sector may be able to help me out.
I have spoken with two people (one called me and I called another) this evening relating to those people being allowed to arrive in Australia on 482 (skills shortage) 408 (Religious work) and 485 (graduate) visas.
The first person I spoke to when they called me looking to potentially get something into the public domain about the numbers of these people who have arrived in Australia within the last 6 months – yes while there are more than 30 thousand Australians trapped offshore – who have a strong connection with a ‘church’ in Australia – they are either ‘employed’ by the church, or they have ‘skills’ for which there is a shortage of Australians, who are immediately claiming Covid payments out of Human services, and regularly making the claims for payment while they are still in quarantine.
I speak not of the Uniting or Catholic, or even mainstream Islamic or Jewish churches – but people who have connection with the Charismatic and Evangelical Christian churches.
What I was told was that there are significant numbers of such people coming into Australia from developing world nations – including India and Nepal, Thailand, Philippines and Vietnam – who have this connection. I was told that apparently a significant issue for many of the people processing support payments from the Human Services end (and handling queries by phone) is that these people have an issue with weak English (which I must confess immediately triggered the question from me of ‘well how are they helping religions if they cant speak the lingo?’). I was told that the clear management line inside Human Services is one of ‘They have been granted the visa and we don’t question that – just process the payments’ along with ‘nobody is to talk about the subject – and there is no issue with the numbers of people coming in on religious related visas’ .
My understanding is that the people processing some of these payments think that there have been about a thousand – this year – and that the phenomena has become (despite management and its stand on the matter) something of a talking point for many of these (I had it related to me that quite a few of the people handling the claims for payment are either visa holders themselves – Human services is experiencing serious issues getting enough people to process Covid support payment claims and consequently are taking what they can get – or recent citizens, who are saying ‘how can this be happening?’)
The next person I spoke with said that there was definitely an issue with this type of visa and the persons applying for and being granted these visas. There was a widespread belief these people were paying money to the religions and religious organisations involved. Many of these visas involve rights to bring an entire family to Australia. I had one instance related to me where an individual asked about the visa they were travelling on mentioned that they had paid $26 thousand for a family of four.
Is anyone out there aware of any statistics anywhere which would identify the specific visa type numbers and the sponsoring organisations, or employing type organisations, and from there the numbers of such visa holders arriving in Australia this year to subsequently claim Covid relief payments?
Is anyone out there aware of the issue, or like issues?“