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Do the crime – do the time

By 2353NM

The reason Dominic Perrottet became Premier of New South Wales is Gladys Berejiklian chose to join the select group of Liberal Party New South Wales Premiers that resigned before undergoing the scrutiny of a New South Wales Independent Commission Against Corruption public hearing. Of course, Berejiklian had her supporters, they are the ones that were questioning why ICAC was investigating her, rather than the correct question – why did she resign as a Member of Parliament prior to ICAC passing judgement on her actions?

The answer to the ‘correct’ question will come out in due course and we’re not even going to hazard a guess what the final outcome is. However we can guess why various Coalition politicians seem to have a problem with oversight, such as that provided within New South Wales by ICAC.

Probably the best person to start is with Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce. According to The Guardian, Joyce is claimed to have

compared the New South Wales anti-corruption watchdog to the “Spanish Inquisition” and complained that it’s making politicians “terrified to do their job”.

What is Joyce claiming here? Is he openly admitting that politicians can’t act fairly and equitably in doing their job or is he claiming it is unfair that politicians should be expected to act to benefit the entire community, not just interest groups such as, let’s say coal mining companies or property developers?

Transparency International has a definition of corruptions and its effects

We define corruption as the abuse of entrusted power for private gain.
Corruption erodes trust, weakens democracy, hampers economic development and further exacerbates inequality, poverty, social division and the environmental crisis.
Exposing corruption and holding the corrupt to account can only happen if we understand the way corruption works and the systems that enable it.

It’s no accident that most of the oversight mechanisms set up by state governments have the word ‘corruption’ in their names. Representation of selected ‘special interest’ groups over the needs of the general community certainly fits the definition of corruption offered by Transparency International.

The comparison to the Spanish Inquisition is certainly an overreach. This is an excerpt from

The Inquisition was a powerful office set up within the Catholic Church to root out and punish heresy throughout Europe and the Americas. Beginning in the 12th century and continuing for hundreds of years, the Inquisition is infamous for the severity of its tortures and its persecution of Jews and Muslims. Its worst manifestation was in Spain, where the Spanish Inquisition was a dominant force for more than 200 years, resulting in some 32,000 executions.

Joyce seems to be suggesting that weakening democracy, increasing inequality and so on are valid outcomes from a politician’s work. We already know his attitude to the environment.

ICAC’s public hearing that addresses its concerns with Berejiklian’s behaviour continues this week, but no one except Berejiklian knows with certainty the reasons for what she has or hasn’t done in the past. ICAC obviously has some evidence to support its position and according to her own rules, Berejiklian didn’t have to resign from Parliament until there was a finding against her.

Corruption commissions have a habit of being fair and equitable. The Victorian version of NSW’s ICAC, called the IBAC is currently investigating a number of ALP ‘powerbrokers’ who are accused of manipulating the number of members that belong to certain ALP branches. As the members of each ALP branch have some say in who is put forward as the ALP candidate at each election, there are certainly ways for corruption to become entrenched if the ‘right’ person is elected. Victorian Premier Dan Andrews has denied any involvement and Federal Leader Anthony Albanese seems to be sitting on both sides of the fence by supporting the ALP Policy for establishing a ‘federal ICAC’ while resisting calls to publicly reprimand the ALP Federal MP who is alleged to be involved in the Victorian ‘branch stacking’ investigation. Strangely, Joyce seems to be silent on this particular example of ‘politicians being unable to do their jobs’.

Probably unsurprisingly, the Coalition Federal Government seems not to be all that keen on a corruption commission that will maintain an impartial and balanced overview of the workings of those elected to and who work for government. In November 2020, The New Daily reported the then Attorney-General proposing a plan for the implementation of a ‘federal ICAC’, some 11 months after receiving the draft plan. By October 2021, The Mandarin was reporting Morrison joining the Coalition’s ‘pile on’ on ICAC soon after Berejiklian resigned from the NSW Parliament

Responding to a question from Sunrise’s David Koch about whether ICAC needed to be reformed, Morrison said the corruption watchdog was ‘never a model we have contemplated at a federal level’.
“We have a set of arrangements at a federal level that can be built upon, but certainly not going down that path in New South Wales,”

The Mandarin noted

The most recent update on a proposed federal integrity commission was published by the government in November 2020, and consultation over draft legislation for the commission closed in March this year.
However it drew criticism from legal experts and retired judges (known as the National Integrity Committee), who said that the exposure draft was based on a ‘flawed assumption’ and failed to recognise that the role of such a body was not to secure criminal convictions but ‘to uncover serious corruption in the field of public administration and to publicly expose it where that is appropriate’.
To do this, the group argued in a submission, a corruption watchdog must be given wide and special coercive and investigatory powers – it must not be bound by the laws of evidence and should not be expected to function as a judicial body because it was not supposed to be a court of law.
“The exposure draft does not meet the primary purpose of a national integrity commission, which is to enable scrutiny and enhance accountability of government. It is not even clear if the proposed legislation covers ministerial conduct which may be deemed to be corrupt,” the group said.

Crikey gives us a number of reasons why Morrison seems to be delaying a ‘federal ICAC’ with actual powers to investigate potential breaches of legislation and standards. We all face scrutiny from the legal system if we are accused of breaking the law. II’s a pity our federal politicians won’t subject themselves to the same scrutiny.

What do you think?


This article was originally published on The Political Sword

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  1. New England Cocky

    Why has the Liarbral Party thrown a popular Premier under the bus allegedly for ”corruption”?

    As a political sceptic for too many decades I speculate that there is an even bigger scam being perpetrated by a group of Liarbral politicians. What could it be?

    If Gladbags is pilloried for a $5 MILLION clay target shooting scam, what would happen to the perpetrators of a $5 BILLION real estate scam? Well, likely nothing if you are the Liarbral Premier.

    So what is the present status of the Perrottet inspired $5 BILLION gifting of NSW cemeteries to the Roman church? Is it a belated payback for the efforts of Henry VIII to recover the wealth of England for himself as Regent?

    Or is it a Vatican cowboy buying his way into heaven?

  2. Michael Taylor

    They’re falling apart, NEC. But it doesn’t matter – the Murdoch media will stitch them back together.

    I’m here waiting for their viral attack on Macron.

  3. GL

    Simply, they are terrified of anything that shines a bright light on their massive corruption whether it’s local, state or federal.

  4. Ross

    What Barny is claiming 23, is that his politicians are too thick to understand the beast that is ICAC. Every politician and bureaucrat Australia wide knows not to do anything that might attract the evil eye of the NSW ICAC.
    So why is there are steady stream of state members falling foul of ICAC’s gimlet gaze?
    Methinks they must be very thick.

    What are the odds NSW ICAC will have its wings clipped and totally defunded so that it can never cause a NSW premier to crash and burn in the public spotlight again?
    Very short Odds for NSW you would think and federally no chance.
    A couple of new and expensive penal institutions would have to be built if the current NSW ICAC was introduced to federal parliament.

  5. Terence Mills

    What the ICAC in NSW is showing us is that it does have the teeth and the independence to investigate issues : whether criminal charges result is probably beside the point but it does tell politicians that they cannot play fast and loose with public money. Gladys may not have broken the law but she did treat public money as her own piggy bank to distribute as she saw fit.

    What politicians need to acknowledge is that they are public servants and they occupy those privileged positions at our discretion and only for as long as we decide that they have been doing an adequate job – a good job is probably too much to hope for.

    We must demand that whoever wins the next federal election introduce an ICAC that has the independence of that in NSW.

  6. pierre wilkinson

    A federal ICAC would soon sort the wheat from the chaff and literally decimate the ranks of the coalition and virtually eradicate the cabinet… the sooner it is implemented the better.

  7. Harry Lime

    “Former premier Gladys Berejiklian has finished NOT giving evidence to the ICAC inquiry”..ABC news.Glady obviously has a terminal case of Sinodinitis,which is known to have the twin effects of being let off prima facie corruption followed by a highly paid sinecure.Who said crime doesn’t pay? Where’s Max Gillies when you need him?Or John Clarke? And Macron reckons Scumbucket is a liar? He should be glad he doesn’t live in Australia where he’d be lied to every fucking day.On any fucking subject.

  8. Qanon

    Does one really need an ICAC to understand that when a local Member makes a so-called successful representation, they have in fact convinced an inexpert Minister to overturn a decision or priority as determined by nominally independent public servants?

    Apparently not.

    ICAC would do us all a favor if they made recommendations to address this nonsense.

  9. GL

    Pardon the naughty word in my previous comment, it’s just that his Magisterial Monstrosity Morrison and Minister of Misbegotten Mongrelness really gets me cranky.

    Back to watching And Now for Something Completely Different before heading off for sleepy bo-bo’s.

  10. Stephen S

    In Gladys World, there’s the inner “love circle”, parents and other blood relations. Then there’s the outer “love circle”, including casual amours (or future husbands?) who also happen to be NSW MPs.

    In the first circle, one behaves with a modicum of decency. In the second, anything goes, there’s no possibility that any of it could ever be corrupt, one would do the same all over again. Let’s see how ICAC buys that.

    Sadly, Gladys has been usurped by someone much worse, an Opus Dei zealot whose seven children are an ideological statement, a man who missed his true vocation as a minister in the 1939 Franco Government.

  11. Terence Mills

    Interesting point that came out during the ICAC was that Gladys was aware that dodgy Daryl was expecting to receive a commission of $1.5 million from a property developer associated with the Badgerys Creek airport contract : he mentioned as much in the tapped phone call between the two.

    The question that arises is why is an elected member of the NSW state government receiving payments from land developers and what had he done to warrant a commission of that size ?

    The second issue is that Gladys (as Treasurer or Premier not sure which at that point) should immediately have reported the matter as it goes her integrity and his criminality and corruption in office.

    Well done ICAC you at least are doing your job !

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