THURSDAY JANUARY 12 2017
Turnbull Iftar feast cost $30k
PRIME Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s Iftar dinner, attended by an Islamic preacher who once called on God to “destroy the enemies of Islam”, cost taxpayers more than $30,000, government documents reveal.
The event at Kirribilli House during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan was marred by controversy after The Daily Telegraph revealed Sheik Shady AISuleiman, who also denounced homosexuality as an “evil act” and said adulterers should be stoned to death, was invited to the feast as a guest of Mr Turnbull.
Online videos also show Sheik Shady saying women would be “hung by their breasts in hell” and should not even look at men.
Documents released under Freedom of Information laws reveal the dinner, held last June, cost taxpayers $33,694. The bill included $7300 for food and beverages even though it was an alcohol-free event. The food was prepared by a contracted Halal caterer and included a shared main course of lamb, chicken, salmon with rice and traditional fattoush and tabouli salads.
Other costs included $9600 for a marquee, $1812 for staff and $814 for flowers.
Taxpayers also picked up the $5700 bill for airfares and accommodation costs for departmental staff to fly to Sydney for the dinner.
After the event held during the election campaign, the Prime Minister said he regretted inviting the controversial cleric who previously called HIV a divine punishment for homosexuals.
“Homophobia should be condemned everywhere,” Mr Turnbull said. “We respect the rights of gay Australians, we respect the rights of the LGBTI community and the rights to lead their lives and gather together in peace and harmony.
“At the foundation of our success of mutual respect, at the core of that mutual respect is love. Love for our
fellow humanity, that is when we are closest to God.”
The dinner was also attended by AFL star Bachar Houli, TV host Waleed Aly and wife Susan Carland, head of the Australian Multicultural Foundation Hass Dellal and representatives of Christian, Jewish Hindu, Sikh and Buddhist faiths.
The guest list for the event was compiled by the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.