Tuesday April 17 2018
In February of this year Transparency International announced that Australia had slipped to 13th on the global corruption index. Transparency International measures bribery and the diversion of public funding.
I suppose – at first blush – to be ranked 13 out of 180 countries isn’t a bad thing, but it’s the trend that is of concern. Well, for the public it’s not just the corruption by business that concerns them but also a perception that politicians themselves are corrupt and are ripping off the public purse and lying by omission. Trust in our politicians has dropped to an all-time low of just 13%.
“The index showed Australia’s corruption score had slipped eight points over the past six years, a trend which was described as a “notable decrease”.
“Australia scored 85 out of 100 in 2012, and 77 out of 100 in 2017.The lower the score, the higher the perception of corruption.”
This is a snapshot of corruption index:
1. New Zealand
179. South Sudan
The report said that Australia appeared to be lagging in its efforts to combat corruption. These included money laundering, protecting whistleblowers, political donations and the effectiveness of our systems in general.
“The Government has simply not faced up to the need to have an independent corruption agency at a national level,” said Mr Whealy, the CEO of Transparency International.
The report was released during an ongoing debate as to whether Australia needs a federal anti-corruption watchdog similar to the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) in NSW.
It has to be said that Transparency International’s report has effectively backed this need and has given support to Bill Shorten’s plan, announced in January, to implement a Commission Against Corruption.
The Australian public simple cannot expect good policy to start emanating from government until we begin to clean up the system. Bill Shorten has committed Labor to do so but as yet the Coalition hasn’t, and the voices in support are but a whisper.
I fear that politicians who do not take this seriously may pay a big price for their ignorance. When announcing his policy at the National Press Club Shorten admitted that there were millions who were now disaffected with the political system and weren’t even bothering to vote.
I, like many other readers of this site, feel that for many years now, the integrity of our politics has been gradually sold out by a bunch of corrupt politicians more intent on feathering their own nests than working for the people. We are sick to death of the travel rorts, the living away from home allowance, donation rorts and ministers when the retire, walking into senior positions with companies in the same field.
“Shorten described restoring public confidence in Australia’s democractic system as “bigger than me versus Malcolm, bigger than Labor versus Liberal” and crucial to winning back trust.”
“Because the most corrosive sentiment in democracies around the world is the idea that politicians are only in it for themselves.”
But if the commission doesn’t have authority similar to a Royal Commission, independence with broad jurisdiction, with all the investigative powers it requires and is without government interference then all will be in vain.
Why do we need a Federal Integrity Commission?
A The AFP aren’t doing their job. The are understaffed or appear to be biased towards the government.
B The government seems to be unwilling to tackle the corruption and rorts that breed within the membership of their ranks.
C MSM (Mainstream Media) seem to turn an almost “blind eye” to the endless Federal corruptions and rorts. MSM rarely even gives scant attention to the “pervading corruption” that runs through Australian Federal politics.
D “In many ways it’s a protection to politicians to have a body like this because it means that the public will have confidence that there is oversight of their politicians and there is accountability and if there is corruption, it will be exposed.”
E “The economic impacts of corruption are well-known. Business costs increase, capital is not allocated efficiency and inequality worsens.
The nation’s gross domestic product could have been $72.3 billion higher this year, if the perception of how much corruption is going on had stayed at the same level as in 2012, according to Transparency International’s yearly Corruption Perceptions Index.
My thought for the day
“Time never diminishes the crime.”
PS The last word goes to Barnaby Joyce: If you are corrupt, if you really are corrupt, you’re going to get busted. You’re going to get caught. You’re going to go to jail. We’ve seen other people who have been busted. We’ve seen Senator Sam Dastyari. That’s why I find it amazing Bill Shorten talk about it because most of the problems reside on his side.