The Instagram "Job Queen" Has Insane Selfie Access To Government Ministers

The businesswoman embroiled in Australia's politician expenses scandal flaunts her political connections on Instagram and Twitter.

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When Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull delivered his first speech to the UN General Assembly at the end of last year, someone was filming from the floor.

instagram.com

The shaky video, which was later posted to Instagram, pans across the room and then onto the face of the filmer: businesswoman Sarina Russo.

It's one of dozens of Instagram and Twitter posts from Russo showing the businesswoman partying and socialising with her political friends.

The self-described "Job Queen" has been thrust into the spotlight in recent days due to her cosy relationship with former health minister Sussan Ley.

Instagram: @sarinarussoglobal

On Friday, Ley resigned after it emerged she'd billed the taxpayer for a Queensland trip during which she bought an investment property.

It was then revealed Ley had claimed $13,000 to fly private planes on busy commercial routes and expensed trips to attend Sarina Russo's New Year's Eve parties in 2013 and 2014.

"What I'm saying is they were business conversations and they were important conversations to the future of our government's agenda," said Ley, defending her attendance of the Russo parties.

Among the dozens of contracts Russo was granted, there is one that stands out. In June 2015, a tender was published online that showed the Department of Employment would contract out "employment services" to a Russo-controlled company for a whopping $600 million.

A week earlier, Russo posted this Instagram photo with then-prime minister Tony Abbott.

Instagram: @sarinarussoglobal

The caption read:

"Hon Tony Abbott - our Prime Minister is relentless in his leadership to our Nation!

One must admire his determination w his commitment to Work for the dole! If you can activate & get a job through gaining work experience - it's a gift for longevity for u in the work place???? Go for it!!!"

A spokesperson for Russo told BuzzFeed News the $600 million contract to connect employers with the unemployed was announced to the public several months earlier on March 31, 2015.

Instagram: @sarinarussoglobal

The Department of Employment confirmed to BuzzFeed News that the contract had been finalised by March and that the company started work on July 1, 2015.

Asked if Russo's political connections contributed to her winning hundreds of millions of dollars worth of government work, her spokesperson said, "since 1998 the government has either re-tendered or rolled over the contracts of providers every three years".

"The Department of Employment also gives information sessions for all providers prior to new tender rounds."

Mark Di Stefano is a political editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in Sydney.

Contact Mark Di Stefano at mark.distefano@buzzfeed.com.

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