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Malcolm Turnbull called on to answer $444-million question

Article image for Malcolm Turnbull called on to answer $444-million question

Labor is calling on Malcolm Turnbull to front up to a parliamentary inquiry and answer questions about a $444-million grant handed to the Great Barrier Reef Foundation.

The chairman of the GBRF has conceded the charity wasn’t given any specific reasons why they were being handed the grant worth nearly half a billion dollars.

The foundation, which only has six full-time employees, was granted the staggering amount by former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull and the then-Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg in April.

The small charity’s boss Anna Marsden described receiving the mysterious handout as like “winning the lotto”.

A parliamentary inquiry is now underway, examining how such a significant donation was handed over without a tender process in place.

Labor Senator Kristina Keneally tells Luke Grant there were no “public servants” present at the closed-door meeting that lasted less than an hour and from what they understand, no notes were taken.

Ms Keneally says the Senate committee has now requested Mr Turnbull front up to the parliamentary inquiry and answer some pressing questions about the mysterious grant.

“We’ve written to Mr Turnbull saying that we’d like him to appear before us in his capacity now as a private citizen and answer some of the questions.

“Our first request was a polite one and usually that’s all it takes… but it is worth noting that committees do have the capacity, if they judge it necessary, to summon someone.”

Senator Keneally says she’s “hopeful” the former PM will do the right thing and address questions the public want answers to.

Click PLAY below for the full interview

Luke Grant