The Australian newspaper today named Josh Manuatu, a staffer to Energy Minister Angus Taylor, as responsible for obtaining false figures on City of Sydney council travel. The newspaper also claims Manuata forwarded those figures to the Daily Telegraph.
The ongoing controversy began when Taylor claimed that Clover Moore’s City of Sydney Council spent $15.9 million on travel during the year 2017 – 2018. Clover Moore later produced documents showing the actual travel for all council employees as under $250,000.
Taylor responded that he downloaded the document directly from the council website. Council metadata seems to indicate that is incorrect.
While Taylor eventually apologised to Clover Moore, police launched an investigation into the matter on 26 November.
The minister maintains that neither he nor his staff altered the document.
He also declines to provide any more information about how he came to use the grossly inflated figures.
On Wednesday, the Australian identified Josh Manuatu as responsible for obtaining the false figures.
Manuatu, a former president of the Young Liberals, previously worked as a staffer for conservative Liberal Senator Eric Abetz.
In 2014, newspaper reports linked Manuatu to another scandal. Then, Abetz staffers asked Commonwealth officials to adjust figures to match government projections.
Gay but opposed to same-sex marriage and safe schools
In 2016, Manuatu wrote a column in the Sydney Morning Herald attacking both same-sex marriage and the Safe Schools program.
“I know of countless people in a similar position to me who are gay and conservative who think that the safe schools programme is bad and that marriage should remain the same but who are too afraid to speak out for fear of being attacked by the PC lefty lynchmob.”
Later, a gay teenager accused Manuatu of bullying when the Liberal staffer used his Facebook page to publicly humiliate the boy over the Safe Schools program.
Initially, the 17-year old boy, who left school over bullying, called Manuatu out in a private forum over his views on Safe Schools.
Manuatu then posted a photo of the teenager, without authorisation, on his Facebook page, with some of the boy’s comments. The teenager insisted Manuatu took his comments out of context.
Keeping his job
Despite the latest controversy government sources told media Manuatu would not be fired.
Taylor also so far remains in his job, despite the latest controversy coming hot on the heels of the Watergate and Grassgate scandals.
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