Just a short update, at the time ABBOTT was NOT PM yet, but a mere opposition leader with friends in all the right places maybe, because one of his daughter Frances miraculously snared the top gig nobody else knew about
I had wind of this a while back and was told it was UNTRUE, the educational institute does not issue Scholarships. Then this breaks yesterday (funny that how they hang on to break political scandal) and even more so today!
NOW what needs to be answered is WHO else was considered? What was the criteria? What interviews where conducted? It seems nobody else knew about this so called scholarship, it was not publicised so how could Abbott’s daughter even apply for it and could anyone else apply. Sounds a boys club closed shop appointment to me. But what would I know. (I still have the email in my secure archives from the “Person” who emailed me BTW quite a while ago)
So classmates express fury over Tony Abbott’s daughter Frances being awarded $60,000 scholarship to Whitehouse Institute of Design. Are they justified to be furious?
FORMER classmates of Tony Abbott’s daughter are furious that she was awarded a $60,000 design degree scholarship.
The Prime Minister defended his daughter Frances yesterday after it was revealed she won a $60,000 scholarship in 2011 to Sydney’s elite Whitehouse Institute of Design, whose chairman Les Taylor is a longtime friend of Mr Abbott and a Liberal Party donor.
Chad Mason, 20, studied for the $68,000 Bachelor of Design in styling and creative direction with Frances in 2011 and said her being awarded the scholarship was “beyond a joke”.
“Having studied in the same classes alongside Tony Abbott’s daughter … I can assure you that there were no scholarships awarded to any other students in our cohort, and I can definitely say that I studied with some extremely talented people who were more deserving of a $60,000 scholarship,” Mr Mason said.
There is no evidence Frances did not earn her degree on merit or that she was not entitled to her current job. And Mr Abbott’s office said, in a statement to news.com.au yesterday, that Frances won the scholarship “based on her application and art portfolio”.
Mr Abbott’s office also said the Clerk of the House of Representatives had confirmed there was no requirement for the Prime Minister to have declared the scholarship.
The institute’s website clearly states that “Whitehouse does not currently offer scholarships to gain a place into the Bachelor of Design”.
But Whitehouse chief executive Ian Tudor told news.com.au that the institute awards “all sorts of scholarships; it would probably be 20 or more each year”.
“The scholarship that Frances received was a direct scholarship from the founder and owner Leanne Whitehouse. As a private company, Leanne has from time to time awarded it,” Mr Tudor said.
“Originally it was called the MD’s scholarship and subsequently the chairs scholarship. It is a discretionary award made and funded by Leanne Whitehouse.”
Mr Mason said a number of Frances’ fellow students had this morning discussed the scholarship and were “quite annoyed and disappointed”.
Mr Mason supported himself as he studied at the institute at age 17 by working two casual jobs — but he knew other classmates who did it even tougher.
Another of Frances’ classmates, who asked not for her name to be published, said she was “disgusted” about Frances’ apparent “free ride”.
“To give it to someone who is as entitled as Fran doesn’t sit well with me,” she said.
The 22-year-old student, who comes from a low-income background and who has lived much of her life with support from the Smith Family, finished the course with a high distinction average.
“To see that (scholarship) go to someone not as deserving really annoys me,” she said.
Frances, 22, the Prime Minister’s middle daughter, now works for Whitehouse in Melbourne as a teacher’s aide.
“Very furious that this has only just become public knowledge. I have nothing against Fran, who now is employed by Whitehouse, but this is poor, very poor,” said Mr Mason, who is now working as a personal shopper in Brisbane.
“After speaking with other past students in the last 24 hours, we are in disbelief that the scholarship was kept such a secret during our time at the college.”
He said many of the students had requested scholarships, but they were told there was no scholarship program.
“I’m a bit shocked because there were definitely other students who possessed a great deal of talent who were worse off than myself and who were worse off than Frances — but the college didn’t reach out and offer to help them,” Mr Mason said.
The Prime Minister’s office said Frances won the scholarship “based on her application and art portfolio”.
“Tony Abbott’s claims that the scholarship was awarded based on merit is false, as most students maintained a distinction average whilst struggling financially to meet the heavy expenses involved with attending the college,” Mr Mason said.
He said the costs of attending the college were “astronomical” given that they had to pay for extra materials to complete assignments.
Whitehouse chairman Les Taylor told The Guardian that he had “put her name forward” for the award. Chief executive Ian Tudor said Frances Abbott was only the second recipient of the scholarship.