Fury of Australian government as Commonwealth chief Baroness Scotland invites representatives of 53 nations to a cricket match in Adelaide – without telling the host country first
- Baroness’ invitations were described as ‘inappropriate’ by Foreign Minister
- Marise Payne told the Commonwealth chief to stop sending out invites
- Baroness organising a charity match at Adelaide Oval on December 5
- She previously drew ire for a £338,000 renovation of her Mayfair flat in 2016
The Australian government has furiously reacted to the Commonwealth chief inviting 53 envoys to a charity cricket match, without consulting the host nation first.
Baroness Patricia Scotland’s decision to plough ahead with her ‘Peace at the Crease’ event at the Adelaide Oval was described as lacking in ‘basic courtesy’ and ‘inappropriate’ in a stinging letter from Foreign Minister Marise Payne.
The Labour peer invited representatives from the Commonwealth nations to the December 5 all-star match while attending the United Nations General Assembly in New York last month, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.
Senator Payne wrote to the baroness on October 9: ‘Any event involving visits by foreign leaders to Australia creates significant security, protocol, programming and logistical issues on which neither you nor the Commonwealth Secretariat has sought advice.’
Patricia Scotland, Baroness Scotland of Asthal, poses for a photograph at her Marlborough House residence in March 2016 – her invitations to the 53 envoys has been described by the Australian Foreign Minister as ‘inappropriate’
Baroness Scotland and the South Australian Cricket Association are organising the event which is expected to feature Sachin Tendulkar, Ricky Ponting, Brian Lara and Muttiah Muralitharan.
Money raised at the event is to go to the development of sport throughout the Commonwealth, in particular countries afflicted by war and violence.
But Senator Payne added: ‘The initiative is of some interest, but it is inappropriate for the Commonwealth to issue invitations to dignitaries and leaders of government to visit Australia, without having engaged in the basic courtesy of properly consulting the Government of Australia …
‘I request that you not issue any invitations to heads of government or other dignitaries … I would appreciate a full briefing being provided that will enable me to provide initial advice to the Prime Minister of the proposal.’
A Commonwealth spokesman told the Australian paper it was just ‘an administrative hiccup’ and refused to comment on ‘leaked documents.’
The December 5 match is expected to feature Sachin Tendulkar, Ricky Ponting, Brian Lara and Muttiah Muralitharan (file photo of the Adelaide Oval)
Baroness Scotland was dubbed ‘Baroness Brazen’ and ‘Baroness Shameless’ after the £338,000 renovation of her Mayfair residence in 2016, an apartment which is provided by the Queen.
It later emerged a total of £590,000 of the foreign aid budget had been spent on Marlborough House in two years. She was also attacked for appointing political allies to key posts.
She became Commonwealth secretary-general three years ago and her first term will conclude next year.