Last week we learned the Frances Abbott had been the recipient of a $60,000 scholarship to the private and exclusive Whitehouse Institute of Design. Very valid questions were raised as to the legitimacy of the scholarship, due to the fact that the school firmly states that scholarships do not exist for the Bachelor of Design degree that she undertook at the institute, as well as both her own, and her father’s – Prime Minister Tony Abbott – relationship with the school’s Chairman Les Taylor. Taylor himself is a known, and large, donor to the NSW Liberal Party, and the scholarship was not listed on Tony Abbott’s Members’ Interests Register. It just so happened that in the current budget, higher education funding was extended, for the first time, to private institutions. This includes the Whitehouse Institute.
My daughter, Billie, studied at Whitehouse. She was not awarded a scholarship but studied here free of charge. Many private tertiary providers have similar arrangements for their children and the children of their senior staff and teachers. The school is wholly owned by myself and it is not unusual nor surprising that, when my daughter showed a strong interest in a career in design, she pursued this interest at Whitehouse.”