But Professor Lindell said he reviewed possible ways in which Senator McKenzie could have legally directed Sport Australia, which is an independent authority, on how to distribute grant money and turned up nothing.
“Despite what the attorney said, I find myself in disagreement,” Professor Lindell said at the hearing. He also acknowledged it was unlikely Senator McKenzie would be pursued personally.
Disenchanted pony club and cricket club volunteers at the hearing revealed their deep frustration at missing out on much-needed upgrades during the federal government’s infamous “sports rorts” program.
Goolwa District Pony Club applied for almost $40,000 to replace an old ex-army hut with new rooms, while the Coromandel Valley Ramblers Cricket Club wanted new rooms to replace a six-by-six metre tin roof without walls.
But both South Australian clubs were snubbed, despite their high Sport Australia merit scores, with the pony club scoring 82 out of 100 and the cricketers earning 90.
Some of the applicants, including Barmera Monash Football Club from a small town near the Victorian border, said they had spent hundreds of hours working on their grants.
Unlike a handful of projects that were allowed to submit or amend their applications after the program deadline closed, all of the applicants who appeared had got their bids in on time.
Officials from the City of Salisbury on the northern fringes of Adelaide said they had been told they had met the criteria, though they did not get any money, denying them the opportunity to amend their application to approve it.
Peter Tyler coach at Crystal Brook Golf Club, another applicant, said he was frustrated with the lack of transparency and evolving process by which grants were determined under the program.
“When you enter a game, the rules are clear when you start,” Mr Taylor said. “In the game the rules don’t change anywhere from start to finish. I would’ve anticipated the same thing would’ve happen with this grants process.”
Nick Bonyhady is industrial relations reporter for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, based between Sydney and Parliament House in Canberra.