The Student Who Leaked Info About Frances Abbott’s Scholarship Has Pleaded Guilty

Here is what we know to be true about this whole ordeal. Frances Abbott, current daughter of Prime Minister Tony Abbott, received a $60,000 scholarship to attend the prestigious Whitehouse Institute of Design – a scholarship that, for all intents and purposes, appears to not really exist. She was awarded this scholarship after a single, solitary meeting with the owner and founder of the school, Leanne Whitehouse. Frances was pursued by the Whitehouse Institute after they learned that she was planning on attending rival school Billy Blue. The scholarship was not disclosed to students and most of the staff, and was not publicly offered to any other student. Where it gets murky is the fact that Prime Minister Abbott did not list the scholarship on his Register of Interest, making this – at best – a little dodgy, politically speaking.

The problem with all of this, is that the original information about the scholarship was obtained by – as the court sees it – less than dubious means. 21 year old communications student Freya Newman accessed the data in an unauthorised manner whilst working as a part-time librarian at the Whitehouse Institute.

Yesterday, Newman pleaded guilty to charges laid under section 308(H) of the NSW Crimes act, and now faces a maximum of two years in prison.

Police began investigating the breach after receiving a complaint from the Whitehouse Institute.

Again, this is for making public a scholarship awarded to the daughter of a high ranking politician who would soon become Prime Minister, that the Institute did everything in their power to keep quiet. A scholarship awarded to the daughter of a politician, who was then used by the school to lobby federal government regulators – y’know, those people who work with her Dad – to get a new Masters of Design course accredited. And, additionally, a private University that has since received funding in the federal budget for the very first time.

The person who accessed those files on the computer that detailed things that actually happened has pleaded guilty to doing it in a court of law, and is now facing up to two years in prison.
Ms Newman will be sentenced on October 23rd.
Photo: Lisa Maree Williams via Getty Images.