Photo Courtesy of: Andrew Meares
ALL PRURIENCE ASIDE, the email scandal involving Nova Peris still can’t be washed away with a few senatorial tears and a muddled explanation.
Nor should it be side-tracked by her claims of blackmail, a family custody battle, and questions over how the NT News obtained the salacious and damning emails in the first place.
And you should ignore Labor’s attempt to brush it aside on the grounds it all happened (or allegedly happened) before the Olympic star was Julia Gillard’s ‘captain’s pick’ to oust veteran senator Trish Cossin.
No doubt some pollies would like to adhere to the principle of ‘what happened before you came to Canberra didn’t happen’ -- especially Opposition Leader Bill Shorten, after the allegations he has been hit with lately.
Shorten says: ‘These are deeply personal matters which pre-date her entering into Parliament’.
The allegations against Senator Peris are serious. That she used taxpayers’ money to fund a ten-day extra-marital sexual tryst with fellow Olympian Ato Boldon.
Peris has denied, in and out of the Senate, that she has done anything wrong and Boldon denied everything except ‘a friendship of almost 20 years’. He, predictably, threatened legal action.
spend time together
But, as revealed in the emails published by the NT News, Peris was an Athletics Australia ambassador and communications officer with the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies when she proposed Boldon come to Australia for a young athletes ‘Jump Start to London’ project during which (in her words) Boldon could ‘make a bit of money and spend time together’.
Boldon’s demands: ‘…hotel, ticket, plus 15,000 US’.
Athletics Australia (that means you) picked up the $15,000 tab for their ‘just like a Tim-tam black on black’ assignation and, in other emails, Perris talked about getting $22,000 from other sources.
“It’s not that I don’t think it is unreasonable, and i totally agree you should be paid up front, its just that the money is government funds, with govt funding here, the normal procedure is to apply for grants, and because the money is discretionary funding they pay to an organisation then they pay you ...’
Here you have a public servant, also explaining to her visiting lover (after sending nude pics in advance) how she could fill in forms to help him avoid paying tax on the money.
‘I am happy to do one up for you just give me your account details and I will get the waiver form so u don’t have to pay tax, u get the whole amount as a one of payment etc.’
indigenous grants mob
Peris said ‘it was not in the budget to bring any profile athletes out but…I am goin through the indigenous grants mob…’
Ah, yes. ‘The indigenous grants mob’ -- now there’s a bottomless taxpayer well to drink from.
I think, as the pollies bleat about respecting their colleague’s privacy, that Northern Territory voters should know where some of their taxpayer-funded indigenous grants are going.
And keep this in mind. Senator Peris is also on a parliamentary committee examining indigenous recognition in the Constitution.
In one email to Boldon, she wrote: ‘white people hate black people in this country, and don’t like for things to happen if there is no salt in the mix...’
How does that sit with reconciliation? How can a person with such blinkered views sit on such an important committee?
Not long ago, the private emails of Sydney University professor Barry Spurr exposed his racist opinions, referring to Prime Minister Abbott as an ‘Abo-lover’ and Nelson Mandela as a ‘darky’. Spurr, who also sat on the national Education Curriculum review, was suspended.
so so dumb
And I guess we’ll leave Senator Peris to mend fences with ‘dumb’ indigenous fellow Olympian Cathy Freeman. In the Senate yesterday Peris announced they were still friends.
Cathy Freeman is a sensitive soul. Don’t know how I would cope if a ‘friend’ wrote to another Olympian about me and said:
‘Like Freeman here, she is so so dumb (sad but true) and has a national profile of running fast achieving awesome things but seriously can't talk for shit, and has zero communication skills’
Jeez, Senator. Thought that sort of spite would come from the lips of one of those white people who hate blacks.