Thursday 23rd of October 2014

the new age of entitlement ....

the new age of entitlements .....

The chairman of a Sydney design college has insisted he had no part in awarding a prestigious scholarship to Frances Abbott, the daughter of Prime Minister Tony Abbott, but conceded he "probably" mentioned she would be a good candidate for it.

Les Taylor, a noted Liberal Party donor and long-time friend of Mr Abbott, is the chairman of the board of governors of the Whitehouse Institute of Design.

On Wednesday, he said he had no part in awarding a scholarship to Ms Abbott, worth a reported $60,000.

‘‘I probably did say to someone at Whitehouse ‘Frances is a nice girl or something, good family, works hard, I reckon she’d do well’,’’ Mr Taylor told Fairfax Media on Wednesday.

Mr Abbott confirmed through a spokeswoman on Wednesday that his daughter had received the scholarship, but said he was not required to disclose it as it did not constitute a gift.

She said Frances Abbott was awarded a scholarship from the institute in 2011 ‘‘based on her application and art portfolio’’.

‘‘Under the Statement of Registrable Interests, a scholarship is not a gift, it is an award based on merit and disclosure is not required,’’ the spokeswoman said in a statement.

‘‘If alternative advice is provided, Mr Abbott will meet the amended requirements.’’

Members of the House of Representatives are required to declare gifts to themselves, their spouses and dependent children when they are worth more than $300 and come from non-official sources.

But the guidelines say gifts from family members or personal friends "need not be registered unless the member judges that an appearance of conflict of interest may be seen to exist".

The spokeswoman said Ms Abbott had graduated with distinction-level results from Whitehouse in December 2013.

"She has since moved to Melbourne where she works for Whitehouse as a teacher's aide and hopes to study for her Masters later this year," the spokeswoman said.

Institute chief executive Ian Tudor said the chairman’s scholarship was awarded ‘‘occasionally’’ and that Ms Abbott was its second recipient.

‘‘I understand that the selection of Frances was done at arm's length from the chairman by the owner, founder and Managing Director of the Institute, Leanne Whitehouse,’’ Mr Tudor said by email from Indonesia.

The Prime Minister's spokeswoman said Mr Abbott had known Mr Taylor for many years and received clothing from him as a gift when in opposition.

"While gifts from personal friends do not require disclosure, for the avoidance of doubt, Mr Abbott elected to declare the clothing."

"While the exact cost of the gifts were not known, it was clear they were higher than the $300 threshold and were appropriately disclosed with Mr Abbott providing all the information required by an opposition member," the spokeswoman said.

On its website, the institute says it "does not currently offer scholarships to gain a place into the bachelor of design,’’ but ‘‘at the discretion of Whitehouse, a scholarship for further study may be offered during the academic year to students who have formally commenced their studies and show exceptional ability and dedication’’.

Famous for its fashion design course, the private Surry Hills design college, helmed by Leanne and Billie Whitehouse, also specialises in interior design and styling and has a small student body.

For her final presentation, Frances Abbott, whose work went on show to the public at a VIP reception on December 2, presented a ‘magazine’ she had created and produced, its pages filled with photo shoots, editorial content and product shots.

The college is currently celebrating its 25th year and alumni include celebrity stylist Pip Edwards.

NSW Election Funding Authority records show Mr Taylor donated more than $12,000 to the NSW Liberal Party between 2007 and 2010, and spent an additional $9000 at tribute dinners for former Liberal leaders John Howard and Brendan Nelson.

Greens senator Lee Rhiannon said the award of the scholarship raised ‘‘serious questions about ethics and conflicts of interest’’.

“Les Taylor, chairman of the Whitehouse Institute of Design, which provided the Prime Minister’s daughter with a fee-free education, has donated more than $12,000 to the NSW Division of the Liberal Party,” Senator Rhiannon said.

“These donations were flowing into the Liberal Party at the same time it was developing policy to publicly fund private higher education providers such as the Whitehouse Institute of Design.

“Mr Abbott should now reveal if he was lobbied by the chairman of the Whitehouse Institute of Design, Mr Les Taylor, to open up federal government funding to private higher education providers.’’

Senator Rhiannon said the Greens would use Senate estimates hearings next month to ask questions about the accreditation of a number of courses offered by the Whitehouse Institute of Design by the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency.

Mr Taylor said he could not recall ever discussing ‘‘anything of substance on higher education policy’’ with Mr Abbott.

In the federal budget, the government announced that from 2016 it would for the first time extend direct government funding to private colleges.

The changes, which also extend support for TAFEs, and diploma and associate degree courses, will cost $820 million over three years. They follow a recommendation from a review of university funding by David Kemp, who was education minister in the Howard government, and Dr Kemp’s former advisor Andrew Norton.

Tony Abbott's friend linked to $60,000 scholarship for Frances Abbott at private college

 

the muck gets thicker ....

The Whitehouse Institute of Design courted the prime minister’s daughter Frances Abbott a number of times and gave her a scholarship during her first and only interview, raising more questions over whether the $60,000 scholarship should have been declared on Tony Abbott’s interest register, according to new revelations published by New Matilda.

The independent news site has reported leaked documents from the institute which show the precise amount, $60,636, Frances was awarded to complete her design degree. The chair of the institute’s board of governors, Les Taylor, is a personal friend of the prime minister and has made donations to the Liberal party.

Guardian Australia revealed on Wednesday that Frances had been the recipient of a “chairman’s scholarship” from the institution, with Taylor later saying he had recommended her personally. Taylor said he had no say in the selection process.

New Matilda reports that Taylor was tasked with courting Frances away from other institutions with the lure of a scholarship. It states that internal Whitehouse documents show that from December 2010 at least four attempts were made to contact Frances. A meeting with Whitehouse’s managing director, Leanne Whitehouse, eventually took place on 18 February 2011.

The report states that Abbott was offered the scholarship during that first meeting.

The New Matilda report raises more questions about the nature of the scholarship, which is not advertised on the Institute’s website and, according to the CEO of Whitehouse, Ian Tudor, is only granted “occasionally”.

The New Matilda documents describe the scholarship as a “managing director’s scholarship”, but it has been referred to by Leanne Whitehouse, Tudor, and Taylor as a “chairman’s scholarship”.

Tudor said on Wednesday that Abbott was only the second recipient of the award. He has not replied to detailed questions from Guardian Australia about the criteria for the scholarship, who else has won it, and whether it is open for public application.

A spokeswoman from the prime minister’s office initially said on Wednesday that disclosure of the scholarship was “not required,” but that if alternative advice was provided the prime minister would meet the amended requirements.

But the spokeswoman said later that further advice had been provided from the clerk of the House of Representatives, who said there were “no obvious provisions” that would require declaration of the scholarship.

The registrar of the parliamentary pecuniary interest registers, Claressa Surtees, told New Matilda the disclosure rules for parliamentarians did not provide a comprehensive list about what should or should not be disclosed.

“It’s not an exhaustive list of what is and isn’t required to be declared. Not all items are explicitly referred to in the [rules],” Surtees said.

“In relation to dependent children, there are only general statements about what might need to be declared.

“There’s nothing that talks about scholarships. The word ‘scholarship’ does not appear in the [rules].”

On Thursday, Abbott said in an interview on Channel Nine that his daughter’s scholarship was awarded on merit.

"I'm very proud of her; she's doing a fantastic job," he said.

"I've always said families should be kept out of the front line. That's the way I've always tried to run my political operation – that we play hard but fair. Families should be [left] out of it."

During Abbott’s 2013 election campaign, his daughters appeared frequently at his side. In an address to the Big Brother house, Abbott said: "If you want to know who to vote for, I'm the guy with the not bad-looking daughters."

Tony Abbott's daughter was courted for scholarship | World news | theguardian.com

some piglets are more equal than others...

Current and former students at the Whitehouse Institute of Design have reacted angrily to the revelation that prime minister Tony Abbott’s daughter Frances received an undisclosed scholarship of $60,000 to cover her tuition fees.

Four students – two of whom were classmates of Abbott’s – all said they did not know that the scholarship existed and raised questions over its fairness. Frances was only the second student to receive the award in its 25 year history.

On Wednesday, Guardian Australia revealed that Frances had received a chairman’s scholarship from the institution, with Les Taylor, chairman of the board of governors, later saying he had recommended her personally for the award. Taylor said he had no say in the selection process.

One former Whitehouse student who was in the same class as Frances for three years told Guardian Australia: “It just seems like a free ride and not a scholarship.”

The graduate, who did not want to be named, continued: “When it comes down to it everyone got in off their portfolio. Nobody else was offered a scholarship in any way, shape or form.”

Another former classmate said “There was absolutely no discussion of the scholarship between me or any of the other students while at Whitehouse.

“I don’t think it’s fair. What I think would have been fair is that if that scholarship was available for everybody to apply for it."

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/may/22/former-classmates-angry-scholarship-abbotts-daughter

Tough titties... Send your complaints to the institute and to Mr Abbott in triplicate... The Whitehouse Institute might have to go through the ICAC wringer, who knows...

in the muck of "extremely vague"...

Mr Abbott did not declare the ­scholarship in 2011 and continues to deny that he has any obligation to do so, saying his daughter won the scholarship on merit. He has previously said his daughter was awarded the scholarship for her academic potential and she maintained a distinction average while studying at the college.

Monique Rappell, a former head of interior design at the institute, said that “the entire scholarship system was extremely vague”.

She said she had put forward a ­student for a scholarship who had topped her year, whose work had been used in the school’s marketing ­materials and who had experienced financial hardship. That student failed to secure a scholarship, she said.

Despite the award being known as the Chairman’s Scholarship, the Whitehouse chairman, Mr Taylor, told Fairfax Media in May he did not know how scholars were selected.

The institute said in a statement it had “offered a variety of scholarships for 25 years . . . all scholarships are ­discretionary and awarded on merit”.

The scholarship story has prompted clashes between student protesters and police at the design school.


Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/business/tony-abbotts-daughter-focus-of-fair-work-claim-against-design-school-20140731-zyri7.html#ixzz391E2rgIn

trying to shut down whistle-blowers on rorts by abbott...

 

Police investigating the smearing of Abbott’s daughter

 

 

Andrew Bolt – Saturday, August 02, 2014 (10:42am)


What depths some people sink to in order to attack the Prime Minister and smear his daughter:

 

NSW police are close to completing a criminal investigation into computer hacking that led to confidential student records about a $60,000 scholarship granted to Tony Abbott’s daughter being leaked to the left-leaning, online magazine New Matilda.

Wendy Bacon, the prominent journalism teacher and contributing editor of New Matilda, has claimed the leaked information — which also involved a hacker allegedly gaining illegal access to the files of more than 500 other students — was justified in the public interest.

Ms Bacon, who co-wrote the New Matilda article with the publication’s editor, Chris Graham, has tweeted multiple times since it appeared on May 21, declaring that the documents showed a scholarship awarded to Frances Abbott by the Sydney-based Whitehouse Institute of Design was not based on merit…

Mr Abbott has dismissed the suggestion he was required to declare a scholarship for his daughter, and the Whitehouse Institute claims it was awarded on merit.

The computer-hacking incident has since become a criminal investigation that is nearing completion, following a complaint to police from management of the Whitehouse Institute about a major security breach involving the alleged illegal accessing and distribution of confidential student records.

So far, two former staff from the Whitehouse Institute have resigned, and Sydney police are understood to have followed the trail of how confidential student information ended up in the hands of Graham and Ms Bacon.

The Weekend Australian has obtained emails sent on May 20 that start with a then part-time teacher at the Whitehouse Institute, Mellitios Kyriakidis, asking fellow staffer Freya Newman: “Did you get it!!” Ms Newman replies 24 minutes later, saying she is on “edupoint right now and there’s very little on here but just trying to generate a report”.

She adds: “There’s a bit about Francis (sic) meeting with Leanne on Feb 21 2011 and then receiving a managng (sic) director scholarship for 2011 three days later . . that’s all I’ve found for the moment.”

In a further email to Mr Kyriakidis sent 23 minutes later at 6.43pm, Ms Newman, says: “got em. Might go meet Chris now to talk tactics. see you tomorrow.”

New Matilda published its first article on the issue the next day…

Ms Bacon did not reply to  questions last night about whether she would have concerns if material from Ms Abbott’s student records, and those of others, were inappropriately and possibly illegally obtained.

Like another rabid Abbott-hater, Jenna Price, Bacon is a journalism academic at the University of Technology, Sydney. Exactly what does that university have to offer journalism students not of the far Left? Exactly what hatreds is its journalism faculty preaching? What vendettas is it pursuing against conservatives? And how sloppy is it?

(Thanks to reader Peter of Bellevue Hill.)

http://blogs.news.com.au/dailytelegraph/andrewbolt/

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Where else can Peter be, but "from Bellevue Hill'.... Ah, Bolt, you are a one-eyed ultra right wing cyclop... Bugger me, I am a tautologist now... Brilliant...

 

proud of doing a public service...

A 20-year-old whistleblower has pleaded guilty to accessing restricted records linked to revelations that the prime minister’s daughter received an undisclosed $60,000 scholarship.

Guardian Australia revealed in May that Tony Abbott’s daughter, Frances, had attended Sydney’s Whitehouse School of Design on a “chairman’s scholarship” at the recommendation of the college’s chairman, Les Taylor, a Liberal party donor.

The Whitehouse website states the college “does not currently offer scholarships to gain a place” into Abbott’s bachelor of design degree.

A former part-time librarian at the design college, Freya Newman, appeared briefly at the Downing centre local court on Thursday, where she pleaded guilty to one count of unauthorised access to restricted data. The charge carries a maximum sentence of two years’ jail.

Newman will return to court on 23 October to be sentenced.

Previous students of the Whitehouse school, including classmates of the prime minister’s daughter, have told Guardian Australia they had never been made aware of the chairman’s scholarship. Nor had they been invited to apply.

Abbott was only the second recipient of the prize, the application process and criteria for which the Whitehouse school has so far not detailed.

Current state and federal whistleblower laws did not allow Newman to raise a defence that accessing the restricted records was in the public interest. Professor AJ Brown, a legal expert at Griffith university and a board member of Transparency International, said this highlighted shortcomings in Australian whistleblower protection regime.

“If somebody is getting prosecuted for having disclosed public interest information, they should at least be able to raise that defence,” he said.

“This is a case where it’s at least arguable that there was a public interest in knowing what the relationship was between the college, the prime minister and the Liberal party.”

Brown highlighted that if Newman had been working for a public university, she may have been shielded by public-service whistleblower laws.

“But because it was a private college she was working for, it’s very difficult to see how anyone would have been able to raise that kind of defence,” he said.

An online petition to “stop the pursuit’’ of Newman has attracted more than 5,000 supporters.

read more: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/sep/18/frances-abbott-scholarship-whistleblower-pleads-guilty

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Please sign the online petition. One needs to expose the rorts from this English idiot Turdy Abbott. The exposed records are in the public interest — as they show how SOME people get privileges. It would not take long to have an investigation to show how these privileges were obtained and WHY. The courts are prosecuting the wrong person. Abbott should be in the dock. Freya is a National Hero. Our hats to to you. Be proud.

an abbott family rort...

Last week Freya Newman pleaded guilty to accessing restricted records at Whitehouse School of Design in Sydney.

As is now well known, Frances Abbott, a daughter of Australia’s prime minister Tony Abbott, received a $60,000 “chairman’s scholarship” to the School. She had studied there between 2011 and 2013.

Newman was a part-time librarian at Whitehouse. She accessed records on the school’s computer system which revealed that Frances Abbott had received the scholarship and blew the whistle. She was later prosecuted for accessing the records and will be sentenced on 23 October.

There are several aspects of the matter which should concern the public. They can be boiled down to these: protection, privacy and political influence.

It is a matter of concern that whistle blower legislation is not adequate to protect the disclosure. If Newman had been working in a government organisation and had made an equivalent revelation from public service records, she would likely have been able to claim whistle blower protection. But not for revelations about the workings of a private school.

The second matter for concern – perhaps the main matter – is the tension between legitimate expectations of privacy on the one hand, and the importance of uncovering hidden political influence on the other. There is no doubt that the Whitehouse School of Design is free to bestow favours on anyone it chooses. Equally, there is no doubt that Frances Abbott is a private citizen, not a politician. If there were no other relevant facts, it would be hard to justify public revelation of the scholarship: in any event, it would not likely have interested anyone.

read more: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/sep/22/freya-newman-the-whistleblower-behind-frances-abbotts-scholarship-should-be-thanked-not-punished