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  • Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge
  • Panoramic views in Mt William National Park, Tasmania
  • Views from Rotary Lookout in Esperance, Western Australia
  • Olympic Stadium (Stadium Australia), Sydney
  • Wineglass Bay in Frecynet National Park, Tasmania
  • Weather front looming over Stirling Range, Western Australia
  • Twillight Cove near Esperance, Western Australia
  • Sunset in outback Western Australia
  • Eddystone Point Lighthouse at the Bay of Fires, Tasmania
Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge

Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge

Panoramic views in Mt William National Park, Tasmania

Panoramic views in Mt William National Park, Tasmania

Views from Rotary Lookout in Esperance, Western Australia

Views from Rotary Lookout in Esperance, Western Australia

Olympic Stadium (Stadium Australia), Sydney

Olympic Stadium (Stadium Australia), Sydney

Wineglass Bay in Frecynet National Park, Tasmania

Wineglass Bay in Frecynet National Park, Tasmania

Weather front looming over Stirling Range, Western Australia

Weather front looming over Stirling Range, Western Australia

Twillight Cove near Esperance, Western Australia

Twillight Cove near Esperance, Western Australia

Sunset in outback Western Australia

Sunset in outback Western Australia

Eddystone Point Lighthouse at the Bay of Fires, Tasmania

Eddystone Point Lighthouse at the Bay of Fires, Tasmania

Freya Newman sentence deferred

Today the sentence for Freya Newman, the girl who revealed the $60,000 undeclared scholarship given to Tony Abbott's daughter Frances has been deferred to 25th November.

You are probably wondering why I write about this here. Well, I believe Australia should not only be a country of amazing natural beauty but also the best place in the world to live. So let me tell you about the facts:

 

Frances Abbott, the daughter of the then opposition leader Tony Abbott has been given a $60,000 scholarship from the Whitehouse Institute of Design, Australia, private art and design college in 2011. While I don't know about the actual living circumstances of Frances Abbott at this time, at the age of about 20, she was most likely financially depending on her parents. Not having to pay $60,000 for the tuition of your children is something everyone would consider a substantial financial benefit and saving $60,000 in fees is the equivalent of being given $60,000 in cash and then paying the fees.

The next fact: Tony Abbott had not report this scholarship as a gift, because he claims that this scholarship was awarded on merit and affected his daughter only.

But how can it be that the Whitehouse Institute has awarded such a scholarship based on merit when it clearly states on its websites that no scholarships are available? And how can it be merit based, when there is no documented and transparent process? The Whitehouse Institute has to my knowledge not responded to requests to reveal such information and only confirmed that Frances Abbott was a student there and had been awarded the scholarship.

Another interesting report on the internet indicates that Frances Abbott now works as staff for the Whitehouse Institute but unlike every other staff member has no role assigned. Does that mean she is being employed and payed but not actually having any duties?

But back to Freya Newman. She was a casual employee at the Whitehouse Institute and found out about the scholarship and leaked this information to the public and now she is being prosecuted for this.

The law clearly states that what Freya did was wrong and a crime and I don't want to argue that part. But no harm was done and she has acted in the best interest of the people of Australia who have a right to know about the gifts senior politicians receive - especially when these are provided in ways that are at least questionable and intransparent.

Obviously what is morally the right thing to do in this case is punishable under existing laws which can mean only one thing: The laws are insufficient or wrong! If Freya had worked for the government, whistleblower protecting laws might have helped her. But there are no such laws when you work for a private organisation and this is clearly a problem. In times when more and more lobby groups and organisations attempt to shape policies in their favour and try to influence politics, we must have laws that protect whistleblowers from such organisations.

There is a petition to stop the prosecution of Freya Newman and I urge anyone to sign it and spread the word.

About meLiving Australia, living my dream

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My name is Gernot. You most like have never come across this name before, because it is rare even in Germany where I am originally from.

I have been to Australia for the first time in 2000 and immediately fell in love with this this country. The pleasant climate in Sydney, the unique combination of urban life and nature this city offers but especially the beautiful, warm colours of the land.

In 2010 I finally made this long standing dream come true. I left Germany and migrated as permanent resident to Sydney.

Between this first visit and relocating to Australia permanently has passed almost a decade and of course I have been back in between a number of times, travelling this country I now call home.

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Lonely Planet AustraliaThe classic backpacker travel guide

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