Good on The Australian's Strewth column for picking up yet another example of sublimely-incompetent show-pony Michaelia Cash's foot in her mouth.
Strewth presents the curious case of senator Michaelia Cash and the deleted tweets. The tale begins on Sunday evening when the Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business Minister shared a snap to her social media accounts praising Stirling Skills Training and its chief executive, Bala Suppiah, for being an “integral part of the vocational education scene in Perth for over 30 years”.
She said the firm had delivered “courses and traineeships to over 3000 Western Australians annually”. The only problem: her own regulator is trying to close down the business.
On April 3 the Australian Skills Quality Authority commissioners decided to cancel SST’s registration. ASQA told Strewth the cancellation was for non-compliance on 16 clauses, including failing to ensure marketing information is accurate and factual, and issues with training, assessment strategies and practices.
The business remains open while the decision is reviewed by the Australian Appeals Tribunal, but on May 21 it was ordered by ASQA to “neither enrol nor train additional students”.
All this was public information on July 14 when Cash tweeted about SST: “Last week I had a fantastic meeting with their CEO Bala Suppiah to discuss ways we can better support young people to get off welfare and into work. Find out more: stirlingskills.com.au #WelfaretoWork #Skills.”
When Strewth asked questions on Tuesday, Cash’s tweets and a Facebook post were deleted. But don’t worry, we have screenshots.
Cash is no stranger to SST, visiting at least once a year.
According to its website, SST was “awarded” five locations to deliver skills training as part of the $840 million Youth Employment package announced in the 2016-17 budget when Cash was employment minister.
Cash’s department refused to answer questions about the amount of federal funds given to SST in the past six years. The department said it couldn’t even tell us why it wasn’t allowed to answer questions. Cash’s office also refused to return calls and emails. But a search on the AusTender website found a contract from July last year worth more than $2.3m, and another from March 2016 for more than $16m. But SST hasn’t stopped advertising jobs. We counted at least nine listings on Seek, including one for a career advocate/employment consultant that went up yesterday.