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Day to Day Politics: “Bill Shorten promises federal anti-corruption watchdog if he wins the next election”

Wednesday 31 January 2017

1 I had hoped without any real conviction that Bill Shorten would announce something special at his speech to the National Press Club today. Not just another off-the-cuff speech about how Labor had and would always be the worker’s party. Then I saw the headline in the Sydney Morning Herald:

“Bill Shorten promises federal anti-corruption watchdog if he wins the next election”

Just as he had done with the announcement on Negative Gearing, he has put the people first. In this instance he has taken the political moral high ground. It is an announcement that will be tremendously popular with Labor supporters and the electorate in general.

The speech laid out – amongst other things – an agenda setting that will also flag that a future Labor government could change Australia’s workplace laws – an issue the peak union body, the Australian Council of Trade Unions, is preparing to campaign on in 2018. Mr Shorten may also outline possible changes to private health insurance.

In the many articles I have written about “What Shorten should do” I have vigorously advocated for a National Integrity Body. It now seems that it has come to fruition and Shorten signalled that it will have teeth. His speech was wide-ranging and I will cover the other stuff later.

But the Labor leader’s key pledge will be to create a National Integrity Commission.

In reply, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said he was prepared to consider creating a federal anti-corruption watchdog, and repeated that view  yesterday before going on to attack Labor. His Deputy, Barnaby Joyce for the 1000th time contradicted him saying he rejected the need for a corruption fighting body. The Senate already performed that function. “I don’t think there is a real sense in Australia of a concern with the political system.”

i think he has the intelligence of an elephant. No that would be insulting elephants.

Labor’s announcement came just hours after the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption officially threw its support behind the push for a federal equivalent.

2 Don’t be alarmed: it is all normal. Very gradually we are wakening from our political malaise and into the normality we have come to expect. Yesterday The Poll Bludger reported that Essential had Labor widening its lead from 53-47 to 54-46. I use the word ‘normality’ advisedly because it means that 2018 is looking very much like 2017.

The government is behaving as it normally would. Having successfully closed down an industry that employed many thousands of people with some government assistance it now proposes to give as much aid as is needed to place us in the world’s top ten arms manufacturers.

Naturally it has two aims. One is super profits to reinforce capitalism’s benefits, and second, is the use of those arms to recycle more asylum seekers and then demonise them to make people scared.

Now one would think that the manufacture of arms with which to kill people might be anathema to the Labor Party and its supporters, but apparently not. It says that generally there is room to increase our supply.

The government has identified a number of “priority markets”  to sell more arms and weapons systems:

… the Middle East, the Indo-Pacific region, Europe, the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and New Zealand.

“It is an ambitious, positive plan to boost Australian industry, increase investment, and create more jobs for Australian businesses,” the prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull, said.

Fancy getting so excited about manufacturing weapons that will kill many innocent people. Perhaps this is part of the Australian values we were celebrating last Friday.

3 Now we all know that Tony Abbott, Joe Hockey and Mathias Cormann in 2014 put together the most universally acclaimed unfair budget in Australia’s history, but now we find that they were intending to go further.

The razor gang of Abbott, Hockey and Cormann wanted to identify the so-called “job snobs” and strip them of all social security benefits. In fact they wanted to do the same to anyone under 30.

They really are a compassionless lot of elitist conservative snobs whose normality is bereft of any feeling for their fellow-man.

4 Proof that Coalition infighting continues comes with the release of three documents: the latest yesterday in which we find that the then Minister for Immigration, Scott Morrison agreed to “mitigation strategies”, including asking ASIO to slow down security checks so deadlines would be missed:

“It meant refugees about to start a new, permanent life in Australia would only be allowed to stay for three years.”

What a bastard act! What a disgraceful thing for a man of God to do? But when you peruse the character of individual ministers you find that word normality entrenched in their thinking.

The source and identity of these three leeks and just who they are intended to hurt may never become known, but we have to assume it’s Abbott and the intention is to kill him off altogether.

My thought for the day

“If a newspaper article is written in a manner to suggest objectivity but subjective words are scattered throughout it together with carefully phrased unsupported statements then dismiss the article as having no cogency.”

 


34 comments

  1. Peter F

    John, thank for another great post.
    When you say ‘The razor gang of Abbott, Hockey and Cormann wanted to identify the so-called “job snobs” you remind me that the biggest ‘job snob’ of all was Howard, who did not live in the Lodge, in Canberra, preferring Kirribilli House.

    The arrogance of the man.

  2. corvus boreus

    John Lord,
    Slight quibble;
    Bill Shortens verbal commitment to adopt an anti-corruption ágency (if elected) does not, for me, constitute ‘fruition’.
    Granted, its a pretty flower, but needs further time and just the right conditions in order to form the substance of a fruiting body.
    But yes, it does represent a positive step forward, and should provide a big boost to Shorten’s prime-ministerial aspirations.

    It also means that Turnbull has been forced to slide into Shortens previously held position (‘can see the theoretical merit, but not the demonstrated need’) and resort to desperately flicking insubstantial gobs of stagnant slurry in Bills general direction.

    Meanwhile, Barnaby’s Nationals are left standing conspicuously isolated with the PHONs and other critters of the far right fringe in defending the indefensible by willfully denying the existence of a problem that is patently obvious to the general electorate.

  3. Ella miller

    A worthwhile read Mr. Lord. I have been waiting for the speech by Bill Shorten to the Press Club. I was not disappointed. Australia will be in good hands with him as PM. The negative fear campaign has been started by Minister Hunt. Because they would not use the power they had over the Health Funds and MAN UP to them, they will try to frighten the electorate about higher prices. OMG what frauds. As I said in your last post about Bill a second hand car sales man needs charisma . Bills presentation was a speech of hope for a better society.
    As for the selling of arms…Australia is better than this….what a disgraceful contribution to world peace.As for S.Morrison, no wonder he fits in well with the LNP….NO moral compass…a Sunday Morning Christian.

  4. johno

    Definitely insulting to elephants.

  5. lawrencesroberts

    If we were to include, Anti War Paraphernalia then we might make a start but if M.T. is looking for an innovator to come up with the new “Kalashnikov” or a drone submarine killer then we will have a long wait. Defense Industry spending is prone to Pork Barreling, look out for canvas webbing contracts and puttees manufactured in Inner Ipswich.

  6. Max Gross

    By the time ALP gets in, LNP will have left nothing but scorched earth which will take decades to revive, by which time ALP will blamed and LNP re-elected. It was ever thus.

  7. OldWOmBat

    I’d like to know what bible Abbott, Hockey, Corman and Morrison are working from because my recollections are that the sermon on the mount and parables pushed the notion of caring for others. Also in the old testament

    Deuteronomy: 7: “If among you, one of your brothers should become poor, in any of your towns within your land that the LORD your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart or shut your hand against your poor brother,

    Deuteronomy: 15: For there will never cease to be poor in the land. Therefore I command you, ‘You shall open wide your hand to your brother, to the needy and to the poor, in your land.’

    Not much display of brotherly caring and concern shown by this lot.

  8. Adrianne Haddow

    Let’s not forget the TPP and FTA’s which will contain clauses to nobble any future government’s attempts to break the corrupt dealings of the ‘mates of corporations’, and the ‘privatisation of everything’ deals made during the LNP regime.

    It will be the same situation as the Lib’s and developer’s brown paper bag epidemic in NSW.
    Certain Lib politicians were found to be corrupt, even missed out on running in local elections for one term, but the developments that were the reason for this exchange of cash and sundry other gifts have not been abandoned and have continued. It’s a farce.

  9. Trish Corry

    Bill Shorten announces an anti corruption watchdog. Oh well knock me down with a feather!

    What? The same Bill who is against an ICAC because he is corrupt?

    The same Bill who hasn’t been investigating different models? Because there are sooo many links and Greens memes to prove it.

    The same Bill who didn’t support a Greens Bill because it needed serious substance and was nothing more than a headline grab, because he was already working on an actual framework?

    A framework you say? What is the point of a framework when he has the same luxury of the Greens to just shout anything he wants and won’t have to defend it with serious explanation of how it will work?. Oh wait…that book is in the fiction section with the unicorns.

    The same Bill who only called the senate equiry for show? Because he won’t want to get caught, despite coming out of TURC clean.

    The same Bill who is leader of some on the committee who did not outright recommend an ICAC because they said they needed details of what it would look like, but that was really cos Bill is corrupt.

    The same Bill who has been ignoring the Greens, whilst quietly working on an actual solution, cos that’s what tenacious nerds who get stuff done do. They don’t get their jollies out of missing the serious details, for their day in the sun and some memes.

    The same Bill who is leader of a party who have and always will be against a federal ICAC. That Bill?

    I’ll just let my sarcasm drip on some of the regular commenters on this site. You know who you are and what you have said in the past.

    Get used to a slower pace, a much more in-depth approach to issues, less agression, less shouting, and delivering with serious policy detail where it matters and values based politics. Shorten is our future.

  10. Terry2

    If you had any doubts about the need for a National Integrity Commission or corruption watchdog at the federal level, the revelations that Scott Morrison, when Immigration Minister called on ASIO to delay and perhaps frustrate processing of refugee re-settlement applications shows a blatant disregard for due process and the integrity and independence of government functions and transparency.

    We also have the troubling unresolved allegations that Morrison’s successor Peter Dutton engaged in the systematic bribery of people smugglers on the high seas to encourage them to turn their boats around : in effect, it appears that our government were actually party to and engaged in the business of smuggling people but without any official accountability the matter will never be investigated.

    With these allegations, all Turnbull and Morrison can say is that Labor may or may not have been doing the same thing when in office.Well, two wrongs don’t make a right and an enquiry, in the absence of a corruption watchdog is absolutely necessary for what appears to be clear abuse of due process.

    I note that Barnaby Joyce is saying we don’t need an integrity commission as it could interfere with ministerial decision making : like, for instance, pork barreling by moving government departments in to your own electorate, perhaps ???

    Bill Shorten is on a winner here and I fully expect Turnbull to capitulate just to get the matter off the table.

  11. corvus boreus

    Terry2,
    I reckon it is more likely that Turnbull will waffle on about ‘support in principle but concerns about practice’, and continue to mouth the traditional mantra of ‘no demonstrated need’.
    After all, any action on this has been predicated as dependent upon election results, so the issue will not be forced during Turnbull’s current tenure, and he probably realizes that he’ll more than likely be toppled before the next ballot anyway.

    Either way, yesterday’s announcement is a good move on the part of Shorten, he has articulated a policy commitment that the electorate has clearly seen as long overdue.

  12. Frank Smith

    It is little wonder that Barnaby and the Nats don’t want a Federal ICAC – they cannot have anyone looking over their shoulder whilst porkbarrelling with the 5 billion dollar North Australia Infrastructure Facility. And what about Barnaby’s recorded boast in the pub last year about diverting environmental water to his irrigator mates. All very smelly to say the least.

  13. Keith

    A number of regulatory bodies have been set up; but, they appear to do bugger all.
    Turnbull has agreed to a Royal Commission into Banks, the suspicion is that it will be set up as a Clayton’s Royal Commission.
    Environmental Departments appear to capitulate to vested interests.
    Where I live we have an Integrity Commission which is a joke.

    So, a Federal Anti-Corruption body with real teeth would be an asset to Australia.

  14. Phil

    The LNP won’t get electoral traction from the hoary old “we are better on economy” myth now that it’s obvious that it’s only corporations and business who are gorging on the economic fruits whilst workers are lucky to get crumbs.

    The LNP seems to be ramping up on all things “security” hoping to ride the wave of right wing induced fear and insecurity that is infecting democracies around the world. Turnbull’s weapons export boondoggle seeks to marry this insecurity and fear with his jobs mantra ie Australia is weaponising to the hilt so its all good news from here on the jobs front – trust me!

    On every social, economic and ecological indicator except corporate power, Australia under the Liberals has made a right effing mess of it. Environment has become the target of the conservatives daily hate hour. The damaging consequences of this tragic myopia will be profound, and some damage will be irreversible eg climate instability, species extinctions and the Great Barrier Reef.

  15. Ricardo29

    So much cynicism, and I am part of it. Labor has supported too many of the attacks on our freedoms by the Govt. To quote the immortal C J Dennis, “ I wish ya meant it Bill”.

  16. metadatalata

    Bills announcement for an National Integrity body is to be commended. The announcement will garner votes but I will be waiting for the details. While outing corrupt politicians will hurt the LNP by far the worst, Labor have some skeletons in the closet. I hope that a Labor integrity body doesn’t end up like the Banking integrity body or the tax integrity body: toothless tigers that don’t have the power to prosecute and convict the fraudsters and foreign agents masking as politicians and lobbyists in Australian Parliament. Interesting that Labor while not openly supporting Fizza’s new warmongering policy of exporting military hardware (most of which will be manufactured by foreign corporations with a branch in Australia), he is not condoning it either.

    Sadly both major parties have been in lock-step when it comes to Australia ramping up its military offensives, their unquestioning acquiescence to US military control of our defence spending and deployments and the attacks on privacy and whistle-blowing through legislation passed by both parties. It seems that the electorate really does only have a choice between bad and not so bad political parties to form a government.

  17. wam

    clear, logical and convincing today, Lord John.
    Just like the rabbott in 2013 and today’s announcement that rudd was warned about the risks(death implied) to pink batts present a very cogent argument except if it was accurate the $millions the rabbott spent on royal com would have plastered it all over the world.

    ps did shorten’s travel cost the equivalent 100 pensioners??

  18. babyjewels10

    Given the NBN, the first armament off production will be stone axes.

  19. Jaquix

    Corves Boreus and others, a lot of work has gone into this National Integrity Commission Watchdog. It’s not just an announcement. Virtually ignored by media. ABC News Breakfast chose to ignore it completely. So you have to track down the info yourself unfortunately. A panel of judges and other professionals have worked on it. The Australia Institute has facilitated it. Every base appears to have been covered. When 80% of Australians say they want a “federal ICAC” and here it is, yet met with deafening silence by media what have slashed their front pages around the country, with “Shorten declares war on business, class war” etc. Glaring example of how determinedly right wing (and pro the inept Coalition) the media is.

  20. Michael Taylor

    Australia is on the cusp of being governed by an authoritarian regime, writes The New York Times:

    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/30/world/australia/australia-espionage-law.html

    We now need Labor more than ever. If they support these proposed espionage laws – knowing the consequences for whistle-blowers, journalists and human-rights activists – they could very well lose my vote. F#ck it saddens me to say that … even to think it … but if they support it then they are not the Labor I know, and have always voted for.

    I’d never vote for the Liberals or the Nationals. I don’t vote Greens, and I’d never vote for those idiotic minor parties, namely PHON.

    Labor hardly raises a puff of wind in my electorate anyway. An independent has it so stitched-up that my Labor vote does nothing.

    They’re not going to miss me.

    The other alternative is that Labor take a stand on this issue. Does anybody here know if they have?

  21. GrumpyT

    John, I thought that you had made a spelling mistake in your penultimate paragraph with “three leeks”, but then I realised/assumed that you were talking about Abbott, Hockey and Cormann. Whatever, it gave me a smile.

  22. cjward2017

    John, you can’t be serious (apologies to John McEnroe). Take a long hard look at the political wormhouse in Canberra. We are governed by a political class that rules in its own interest, irrespective of nominal party allegiance. (A Kakistocracy) Possibly a few independents are worth a vote but not the Greens. The established parties are as one if you try to question legitimacy. Our so-called culture is becoming/has become toxic, society is not multicultural or multinational; rather it is becoming atomized and dystopian. I came here in 1963 as a migrant and became a citizen after the prescribed time. I owe Australia a great deal but governments owe me for the way I have been treated over the years. Too bad that anti-discrimination leaws weren’t around years ago: I’m white, pale, male and worse still well-educated and well-spoken. The latter attributes have been eroded by time and process and my academic qualifications don’t mean a damn. I want a pro-euthanasia vote through the same corrupt mess that gifted us with SSM and more to follow.

  23. OPPOSE THE MAJOUR PARTIES

    Shorten’s promise of an NIC is a smoke screen and will end up an underfunded toothless tiger like the one in NSW. Shorten says the NIC will have powers of investigation etc and then may refer matters to the fed police and to the department of public prosecutions (DPP) until there is an actual commonwealth offence of misconduct in public office, which is the charge upheld against Obeid and MacDonald under NSW state common law, or unless the Cth Criminal Code is amended to allow common law offences to apply to Cth public servants and ministers etc, there would be no charges for the Cth DDP to bring against parties refered to it by the NIC.This is why Shorten’s proposal is claptrap.It is merely politicing because he knows the LNP will oppose it.

    There will be no charges for the DPP to lay under Shorten’s proposal as there are no charges against politicians in the Criminal Code Act and that Act excludes the common law offence of misconduct in public office. It will be a toothless tiger that will not get any results and will be just another overly expensive bureaucracy.

    CRIMINAL CODE ACT 1995 –

    Section 3

    Chapter 1 — Codification

    Division 1

    1.1 Codification

    The only offences against laws of the Commonwealth are those offences created by, or under the authority of, this Code or any other Act.

    Note: Under subsection 38(1) of the Acts Interpretation Act 1901 , Act means an Act passed by the Parliament of the Commonwealth.

    As an explanation of the common law offence of Misconduct in Public Office, which is excluded from the Criminal Code and not available to prosecutors against Commonwealth Gov officials in Australia, see the link below.

    https://www.cps.gov.uk/legal-guidance/misconduct-public-office

    Unless this common law offence is given statutory form in an Act of Parliament or the section of the Criminal Code repealed to allow the common law to operate, Shorten’s plan is useless and there will be no change in the conduct of government officials.

  24. OPPOSE THE MAJOUR PARTIES

    Shorten’s approach is not untypical of many Australian gov approaches. Eg Sign Human Rights treaties and agreements to look good internationally but never implement them fully, or at all, domestically. Australian gov’s or all descriptions have been shameful for over two centuries.THIS IS WHY YOU SHOULD OPPOSE THE MAJOR PARTIES

  25. Chris

    @Michael Taylor

    “We now need Labor more than ever. If they support these proposed espionage laws – knowing the consequences for whistle-blowers, journalists and human-rights activists – they could very well lose my vote. F#ck it saddens me to say that … even to think it … but if they support it then they are not the Labor I know, and have always voted for.”

    It is a very scary time. ….and the powers that be are smart enough to know not to ‘screw over everyone of a particular demographic’ anymore. Just pick off a few people here and there is all that is required really. It doesn’t even need to be directed……at anyone in particular….the system and algorithms have enough inherent bias to provide the chilling effect or cauterize where necessary without instruction.

    ̿ ̿̿'̿'\̵͇̿̿\=(•̪●)- /̵͇̿̿/'̿̿ ̿ ̿ ̿ ー( ゚д゚)・∵. ...... Have a good day ! (pay no heed to sekrit cia emojis..)

  26. Chris

    I broke it again…lol

  27. lawrencewinder

    Hopefully there is more (with more passion, too) of this to come… including salient attacks on this incompetent ruling rabble as well.

  28. philgorman2014

    I will believe it when I see it; and not some wretched fig leaf designed for show, with business as usual behind the scenes. The Greens are the only party actually determined to clean up the cesspit.

  29. corvus boreus

    TC,
    I am typing this slowly and simply in the hope you might actually read and comprehend;

    Firstly, thanks for flouncing in to express your opinion regarding ‘Fed ICAC’ (aka NIC), something about which you have previously stated that you care <2 shits about, as well as something you have displayed rather comprehensive ignorance regarding..

    I would add my thanks for arbitrarily grouping your grouping of ‘tweets & memes’ in with factual links to actual recounts of parliamentary votes.and other verifiable matters, but that would be over-egging the pudding.

    Similar sentiments apply regarding your aggregated grouping of all all differentiating opinions into a collective ‘they-said’.

    On a more practical level, I will not let your rather smugly irritating inter-locution upon a subject upon which you are not only demonstrably apathetic, but, seemingly, rather comprehensively ignorant, dilute my enthusiasm for actual positive political progress, nor allow it to my enthusiasm for Labor’s apparent big step forward in articualting governace for the populace..

    To put it simpler, i won’t allow your your pre-occupation with some petty-party bads to ‘force’ me to point out other, corresponding, petty-party bads, on account of this being something of a universally happy day for all who simply desire (comparatively) honest and decent federal governance, as well as something that needs progressive, practical progerss. .

    This deserves, if not ecstatic celebration, at least rational contemplation..

  30. Trish Corry

    Corvus. “Firstly, thanks for flouncing in to express your opinion regarding ‘Fed ICAC’ (aka NIC), something about which you have previously stated that you care <2 shits about, as well as something you have displayed rather comprehensive ignorance regarding..”

    Yeh, I stopped reading at this point, because I’m not interested in reading your attempt at writing in the genre of class A bullshit. I am also appalled you have accused me of flouncing. I never flounce. Flouncing is soo 1970s and I’m a real 80’s girl.

  31. Chris

    Flouncing in the 80s was a male thing….point proven. Move along. 😉

  32. Matters Not

    When does a girl become a woman in the blogosphere? At least in the non-pejorative sense.

    Sometimes the usage of both terms becomes a put down – depending on …. Apparently it has nothing to do with age. Self selection? And the cues are?

  33. corvus boreus

    Trish,
    You didn’t read my missive? Unsurprising.
    Although you are happy to slag and sledge around a subject about which you know and care little (“I don’t give 2 shits about ICAC”), you obviously don’t bother to read contradictory statements of verified fact or check corroborative informational links
    Why then would you bother with a mere expression of personal opinion?

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