Tony Abbott’s daughter was given a $60,000 scholarship by one of his political donors.
Frances Abbott was awarded a “Chairman’s Scholarship” to pay for her degree at the Whitehouse Institute of Design. The chairman who recommended her? Les Taylor, who has donated over $20,000 to the Liberal party.
This means Frances Abbott paid just $7,500 for a $68,000 degree. Meanwhile, Tony Abbott’s budget means that university fees will go up by 100%, ensuring that young people graduate with crippling levels of debt. The Whitehouse Institute should ensure all scholarships are awarded fairly.
Frances Abbott was awarded the “Chairman’s Scholarship”, which has only been awarded once before. Mr Abbott asserted the scholarship was awarded on merit. Yet leaked internal documents show she was courted by the Institute, contacting her four times before finally making a meeting time and that Mrs. Taylor was tasked with arranging this meeting.
There was no exhaustive application process. Instead, she had one meeting with the managing director -- and was offered the scholarship on the spot. The scholarship was not even advertised on the website or advertised to other prospective students.
The Chairman has refused to respond to questions about whether any other candidates were put forward, what the criteriawere, and whether the scholarship is open to public application.
Tony Abbott has defended his draconian cuts to universities, and the devastating effects they will have on young people in Australia. He claims students don’t need help. And yet his daughter was given a free ride through university thanks to one of his donors. It’s unacceptable.
For more information:
Tony Abbott's daughter was courted for scholarship, The Guardian, May 22 2014
Leaked Documents Cast Doubt On Abbott's $60k Scholarship Claims, New Matilda, May 21 2014