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Allegations of corruption keep coming for a party on its knees

After all the conniving corruption of the Coalition’s Luddite term of office, one might have reasonably concluded that they had drained the swamp of their own making. But more alleged corruption has surfaced from the residue left behind.

And before the Coalition can defend itself against a backlog of corruption allegations, new ones have surfaced from a seemingly bottomless pit of misdemeanours.

A. As of Monday, 24 July 2023, the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) received 494 referrals:

“Approximately 13% of the referrals relate to matters well publicised in the media. This figure includes, but is not limited to, referrals relating to Robodebt.”

In other words, LNP scandals like car parks, sports rorts and land acquisitions might also be included.

The NACC will always have Coalition referrals, just as doctors always have patients.

B. Take this last month, for example. First, we had the revelation that the Morrison Government spent $20.8bn outsourcing more than a third of public service operations. An enquiry found the equivalent of nearly 54,000 full-time staff were employed as consultants or service providers for the Federal Government during the 2021-2022 financial year. This equates to one-third of the public service workforce. A Government de-facto workforce was doing work that the public service should have done.

C. Then we had the PwC scandal, where the tax practitioner’s board found that:

“… the former head of international tax for PwC Australia Peter-John Collins had been deregistered by the tax practitioners board for failing to act with integrity and for sharing confidential government briefings.”

The board of PwC has since confirmed that Collins had “made unauthorised disclosures” to partners and staff at PwC of confidential information.

The information concerned new rules to stop multinationals from avoiding tax.

D. This one occurred when Peter Dutton was Home Affairs Minister. The crux of the matter is that it has been alleged that Home Affairs gave a multimillion-dollar offshore detention contract to an Australian businessman only a month after federal police informed Dutton that the man, Mozammil Bhojani, was under investigation for bribery.

Indeed, Dutton would/should have passed on information of such importance to his department. Maybe he had a reason for not doing so. And why wasn’t he involved in the contract process? If he were on top of his portfolio, he would have passed on this vital information as a matter of course. Or so one would think.

And they say our international reputation has been damaged by the cancellation of the Commonwealth Games. What about all these allegations.

That’s not all.

We have the farcical situation where a businessman linked to Stuart Robert won’t face a parliamentary committee hearing because he has severed ties with Australia. Why is that do you think?

Last April The SMH reported that:

“Senior Liberal MP Stuart Robert stood to gain financially out of a consulting company called Synergy 360, which was part-owned by his business partner and chief political fundraiser and helped multinational companies win millions of dollar’s worth of government contracts.

The former Government services minister’s friend and co-owner of the controversial firm, John Margerison, gave evidence before a parliamentary committee inquiry that Robert was a part-owner of a company that Margerison nominated to receive funds from Synergy 360.”

(A joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit (JCPAA) is looking into how the Government awards contracts.)

There are grave allegations:

“… which include suspect payments being made to senior politicians from Nauru and Papua New Guinea, requests for bribes, and complaints to Home Affairs falling on deaf ears.”

These allegations need to be seriously looked into.

Home Affairs and Peter Dutton gave out contracts without ministerial oversight. The question is why.

E. On a lesser note, we find that parliamentary expenses are in the spotlight again.

The expenses watchdog is chasing former Liberal politician Andrew Laming for a further “$8,000 over taxpayer-funded travel to Sydney and Melbourne.”

F. To finish, there is the matter of a $33 million grant to a company in 2017 without due process:

“The former government led by Malcolm Turnbull awarded a $33m grant to a company that was developing a mental health app after months of lobbying from one of its own mental health commissioners who was also a shareholder in the months-old startup.

The one-off grant was awarded in 2017 without a competitive tender to Innowell for a series of collaborative research trials into a digital mental health platform. Its shareholders include PwC, the University of Sydney and former mental health commissioner Prof Ian Hickie.”

There was no suggestion of wrongdoing by Hickie, who, together with PwC, were shareholders in the company Innowell.

All above board except for the non-competitive tender process.

Where does all this leave the average voter? The person who fronts up at every election thinking that the Government has been acting in their best interests only to find that they have been serving their own.

The answer to that question is like looking at a piece of art and finding that their opinion differs significantly from others.

However, their seriousness cannot be dismissed arbitrarily. That is due to the weight of the material; it must be that we investigate. To find the truth in all these accusations or alleged criminal activity. In all this, there is an unspoken suggestion that all is not right.

The Prime Minister has asked the Leader of the Opposition to explain why he didn’t tell his department that Brojani was under investigation (see D above). In doing so, Peter Dutton invoked the politician’s favourite defence of lousy memory on this week’s resumption of parliament.

Why did Home Affairs give out contracts without ministerial oversight? Is that normal?

In response:

“Labor has announced an independent review of the management of regional processing procurement by the Department of Home Affairs after revelations it granted contracts to a company linked to the subject of a bribery investigation.”

If deemed necessary, the inquiry can refer matters to the NACC. Undoubtedly, the Leader of the opposition’s memory will have declined even further by then.

A worry for the reader is whether the newly formed NACC can investigate all the referrals with any degree of urgency. And further, do the AFP and others have the capacity to prosecute? In other words, will law enforcement agencies be able to investigate the avalanche of suspected criminality?

If either of these assumptions is negative, nothing will have been gained. If the NACC decides not to investigate, the public will be none the wiser. In the words contained in the following sentences, there needs to be more for the general public. There needs to be more transparency of accountability. Who and what are the referrals about? What is the test for public hearings?

The only one l see making it to public hearings is Robodebt.

For me, you could drive a truck through the outs for politicians.

Note that the:

“NACC does not have to consider or respond to every referral it receives. The Commissioner can also decide not to take any action concerning a referral.”

And also that:

“A hearing must be held in private, unless the Commissioner decides to hold the hearing, or part of the hearing, in public. In deciding whether to hold a hearing in public, the Commissioner may consider:

  • the extent to which the corruption issue could involve corrupt conduct that is serious or systemic
  • whether certain evidence is confidential, or relates to the commission (or alleged or suspected Commission) of an offence
  • any unfair prejudice to a person’s reputation, privacy, safety or wellbeing that may be caused
  • whether a person giving evidence has a particular vulnerability, such as working directly to someone in a position of power, and
  • the benefits of exposing corrupt conduct to the public.”

What we will eventually know about the crimes committed by those in power during the Abbott-Morrison years may be forever shrouded in mystery.

My thought for the day

This Conservative Political strategy of painting everything as black as possible and then pretending only they have the answers originated in Australia during the Luddite period of Howard, Abbott, Turnbull and Morrison. Australians fell for it in so many ways and continue to do so. I thought we were brighter than that.


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  1. Terence Mills

    Re the PwC scandal :

    “A consultant is someone who borrows your watch to tell you the time and then keeps the watch!”

  2. Max Gross

    Has creepy Brother Stewie’s passport been revoked yet? That serial crook is definitely a flight risk (Probably to Israel or the USA!)

  3. Harry Lime

    Terence:”A stockbroker is someone who takes your money and invests it until it’s all gone.”
    “An LNP politician is someone who takes the public’s money and gives it to himself and his mates” After all, why else go into politics?
    The party that the Liar has fucked, is still full of those pricks,despite some having already fled,and despite Dutton behaving like there’s nothing wrong with the shitheads that continue to emit a rotten smell,not the least of them being himself.The only thing keeping them in existence is the daily propaganda spewed by the MSM,and especially the Murdoch trash.

  4. Williambtm

    No amount of wrongs will ever constitute a right.
    The Lib/Nat political party did not govern for the people, given this fact, the Party should be struck off AEC political party register.
    A political party that serves no beneficial purpose to mankind yet it remains as a huge financial drag on our annual national revenues.

  5. Clakka

    It was never a case of unintentional lapses. They all weighed the risk before deciding to be corrupt, and as they coalesced in power, they all decided to be really corrupt, and quite probably even criminal.

    Their only defence is the lies they propagate. They have already defamed themselves, now let the lot of them pay the price, no matter how long it takes.

  6. Andrew Smith

    So the Libs or LNP federally view government as a ‘job shop’ to employ people and/or make contracts for products and services of favoured providers, outside of due process….. Frank’s ‘The Wrecking Crew: How Conservatives Rule’ (2008/repost quote again):

    “Bad government is the natural product of rule by those who believe government is bad.”

    ‘Frank argues that certain elements of the Republican Party intentionally dismantled the government by many means, including turning public policy into a private-sector feeding frenzy. Frank describes the state of the federal government of the United States as analogous to a large group of privatized pigs feeding at the public trough, which was brought on by the privatization schemes engineered by the Republicans

  7. Bert

    What is it with conservative politicians? Every country they govern they end up fucking. Why? Do they really hate the people that much and once again why?

  8. leefe

    “any unfair prejudice to a person’s reputation, privacy, safety or wellbeing that may be caused” (my italics)

    Well, they can’t cite that clause because
    a) it’s virtually impossible to damage a reputation that is already in shreds and
    b) any damage to the reputations of these greedy, lying, conniving scumsuckers is fair and well-deserved.

  9. Canguro

    @Bert 05/08/23, I’d suggest it’s not a hatred of the people that sits behind the fucking up of countries by conservative politicians, but more of an artefact as a natural consequence of the motivation of those political types – viz., they’re not in the game to actually do any good for the country, but primarily for their own self-benefit… financial and material gain, a sense of importance, along with actualisation of power and ego satisfaction etc.

    These politicians are not in politics to act as agents for change for the greater benefit of the communities they represent.

    Any casual analysis of any conservative government anywhere on the planet will come to the same conclusion. Hatred of the people by conservatives perhaps emerges when they come to realise that the people hate them for who and what they are, a reasonable resentment based on the dawning that they, the people, are being screwed in daylight by these self-serving scumbuckets who had spun a web of lies in order to get elected, but when in power, did nothing except gorge at the trough.

  10. wam

    The lnp just rely on the media’s anti-left stance to portray labor as left, as spenders, as taxers and, often with a snigger at whitlam, as poor economic managers They make sure to repeat, slogan style, that message, with great vehemence, and at every opportunity. Labor rarely counters such bullshit but with the voice they must expose the no people’s dichotomy of motives and their nastiness.
    I have never been comfortable in reading or hearing:
    “,,,painting everything as black”
    but certainly in our time ming, bolte playfor and bjelke were continual painters and kennett wasn’t too bad either?

    a fellow atheist sebt me this no answer from my bible is truth christians.
    You who are slaves must submit to your masters with all respect. Do what they tell you—not only if they are kind and reasonable, but even if they are cruel.
    As a christian, lord, what do you think jesus meant?

  11. Fred

    WAM: Clearly the LNP are “born to rule” masters, well in their eyes only and it would seem the bible had plenty of input from “masters”.

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