THE last time the Australian public paid any real attention to Senator Bridget McKenzie was in December, 2017 when she charged taxpayers thousands of dollars to attend a shooting awards night in Sydney and claimed the trip as "electorate business", even though she was a Victorian backbencher.
A few weeks later she was in Federal Cabinet after becoming the Nationals deputy leader to replace Fiona Nash, who lost her Senate spot during the interminable federal dual citizenship scandal.
Senator McKenzie, an avid shooter, has returned to the national spotlight with all guns blazing as the former sports minister held responsible for the sports rort scandal, following a scathing Australian National Audit Office report last week.
Apart from finding the Federal Government guilty of pork-barrelling on a grand scale, which left five Labor Hunter and Central Coast seats sharing $1.76 million compared to two Coalition seats with $2.1 million, the ANAO raised another problem for the Senator.
It couldn't find the legal authority for her to have done what she did.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has so far refused all calls to sack Senator McKenzie. But the spotlight is now on him because of his refusal to answer questions about whether his office was involved with skewing the funding to Coalition-targeted seats.
Hunter MP Joel Fitzgibbon eloquently accused Mr Morrison of being "in it up to his eyeballs". The prime minister has said nothing to refute the accusation.
What is interesting is who else is staying quiet about funding under the Community Sports Infrastructure Program. Central Coast Council is not answering questions about the $785,000 in grants it received, and why it only disclosed one of those grants, for $150,000 and in the seat of Dobell, in its business papers. It's also not talking about why it failed to record the $485,000 it received for a project in Robertson in the same funding round.
Port Stephens Council is also not responding to a question about whether it applied for any other project than the Karuah sports facility grant of $496,000 - a project in Nationals Lyne MP David Gillespie's seat.
The silent treatment seems to be the method of choice for too many people in politics when things get sticky, as they are with the sports rort scandal. And they wonder why they're not trusted.