The Esther Foundation, a Christian rehabilitation facility near Perth, is under scrutiny following former residents’ allegations of abuse and mistreatment. These revelations gained further attention after former Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s 2019 visit to the centre, during which he announced a $4 million grant. This personal endorsement, according to former residents like Cara Phillips and Lucy Lorenti, deterred many women from voicing their grievances. The Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) has now revealed that this grant was approved with “insufficient due diligence” and likely lacked lawful authority. Numerous claims, including sexual assault and unqualified medical treatment, have emerged following a Western Australian government inquiry. The ANAO’s critical examination extended beyond Esther, with the Centre for Public Integrity emphasizing the need for systemic reforms. Catherine Williams, research director of this leading anti-corruption think tank, highlighted the essential responsibility when using Australian taxpayer funds and advocated for greater legislative clarity and transparency in grant criteria for large programs.
This is a summary of “Scott Morrison’s $4m endorsement of defunct Esther Foundation ‘silenced’ rehab residents” published in ABC on June 9, 2023, written by Alicia Bridges and Joanna Trilling. Read it in full here.