PM Morrison defends Dutton over pork-barrelling allegations

The prime minister has defended Peter Dutton over allegations of pork-barrelling through community safety grants.

The home affairs minister is accused of diverting grant funding into hand-picked safety upgrades in marginal seats ahead of the last election.

Scott Morrison rejected the allegations.

“There’s nothing in front of me which says he’s done anything outside the rules,” he told 3AW radio on Friday.

“It’s an allegation that hasn’t been backed up by any breaches of any rules.

“I’m not aware of any breaches of any rules or regulations in relation to the administration of that program.”

Mr Dutton rubbished the accusations and attacked the ABC journalist who first reported the issue, accusing them of “trying to do a hatchet job”.

“It’s just absurd, honestly,” he told Nine.

Mr Dutton said he intervened in the community safety scheme to ensure more councils could access the money.

“It meant we got bigger bang for our buck and any suggestion beyond that is just ridiculous,” he said.

“I’ve been in public life 20 years and I pride myself on my integrity, I don’t care what mud they throw. I take it very seriously, my responsibility, and the allegations are a complete nonsense.”

Deputy Opposition Leader Richard Marles described the program as “sports rorts mark two”.