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Federal Integrity Commission: Yes, no, maybe, too busy

The Prime Minister is never short on confidence, but mostly it borders on arrogance. This was on display in Question Time this week when Scott Morrison tried to defend his lack of progress on a Federal Integrity Commission. “Where the bloody hell is it?“ boomed Albo’s voice last Wednesday during question time.

It didn’t go unnoticed that the term “where the bloody hell” was a little provocative given that the same words were used by Morrison in one of his infamous advertisements while in charge of Tourism Australia.

During Question Time the government was asked several questions about the lack of progress on this most important piece of legislation.

It gave three answers that reminded me of that old West Indian madrigal that Harry Belafonte used to sing: “It was clear as mud and it covered the ground and my confusion made me head go around.”

The first answer was something to do with anti-corruption bodies being extremely complex, “and we need to consult widely before rushing to legislate,” came the excuse from the Prime Minister.

That sort of had a ring of truth to it, but we had been hearing that for two and a half years and sort of answered a rhetorical question as to why they stuffed so many things up.

The second answer used the soon to be overused riposte that it’s difficult to consult properly in the midst of a pandemic.

The third answer was a doozy: “Don’t you realise there’s a crisis, Anthony, you fool.” This was followed with an additional sputter from the mouth that roared to the effect that:

“I was not going to have one public servant diverted from the task [of managing the pandemic to deal with ICAC.”

Telling the truth should not be delayed simply because we are not sure how people might react to it.

In truth, what these answers delivered was confirmation of an ongoing capacity to lie to the Australian people. The government has been conducting business as normal since the outbreak began. Part of that normality has been legislation to overhauling the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act and the foreign veto power proposal plus powers allowing it to remove mobile phones from asylum seekers  legislation. Add to these other examples, like doubling university fees for some future humanities students.

I could keep going, but I think you get my point. All of these everyday pieces of legislation have been worked on while at the same time coping with an awful pandemic.

With a list of alleged corruption growing longer by the day I repeat what I said in my previous post:

“If all the LNP errors, rorts and corrupt activities during their tenure were lumped in the same basket as corruption and looked at retrospectively, then an Integrity Commissioner would have years of work.”

This week the intensity on the government has grown with regards to the AFP looking into the sale of land in NSW at the site of a new airport.

The Guardian reported that:

“Three federal infrastructure department officials and federal MP Angus Taylor separately met with Louise Waterhouse while she lobbied for potentially lucrative changes to her vast landholdings near the Western Sydney airport.”

The Guardian also reported that Labor asked a series of questions in Senate estimates on Tuesday after Twitter confirmed it permanently suspended a QAnon account belonging to a family friend of the Prime Minister’s for “engaging in coordinated harmful activity.”

The Sydney Morning Herald informed that:

“the Australian Border Force is the target of a corruption investigation over allegations that it improperly funnelled $39 million from a national security project to share market-listed defence company Austal to prop up its financial position.”

And just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse, The Age tells us that:

“a federal inquiry into the office of Assistant Minister Michael Sukkar was outsourced to the law firm he used to work for, sparking questions over a conflict of interest in its findings.”

When added to the existing scandals and given that the new commission is structured to handle the work load, the LNP should be more than a little terrified.

No matter what the spin, what excuse or what lies are told in defence of not completing the legislation a pile of corruption with the stench of LNP government involvement awaits the judgement of public opinion.

Finding the truth and reporting it is more important than creating a narrative where controversy matters more.

Whilst it is well known that Christian Porter is the most overworked parliamentarian in the House of Representatives, there can be little doubt that the government wants the issue to go away as much as we all want the virus to disappear, it won’t.

There are so many clangers having a smell of corruption hanging over the Coalition since Tony Abbott became Opposition Leader. It has to stop.

The dilemma as I see it for the government, is that through their own promise is expected to formulate a policy that the public and the Opposition will accept and then successfully prosecute its own corruption.

Now that is a problem.

My thought for the day

This Governments performance over its time in office has been like a daily shower of uncouthness raining down on society. Surely performance or lack of it must mean something.

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13 comments

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  1. Terence Mills

    So, if they need to consult widely on this extremely complex integrity commission why not include the Australian people in the consultation process ?

  2. New England Cocky

    Now JL, you cannot have a successfully corrupt misgovernment if there is some authority holding politicians to account that may embarrass them with their at home dinner guests. When have charges and legal litigation followed by conviction and sentencing happened to politicians caught out being corrupt? I mean, it never happened when Barnyard Joke charged the Parliamentary Allowances Scheme for his personal return airfare from the Adani wedding in India accompanying Gina. How many other examples are there of inaction in response to corporate corruption?

  3. JudithW

    I need someone to compile this government’s “shortcomings” into a book before the next election. I can’t keep up any more.

  4. Kerri

    “I was not going to have one public servant diverted from the task [of managing the pandemic to deal with ICAC.”

    Except for that time in July (when Dan Andrews was fronting the media on a daily basis as he still is) when Scottyfrommarketing needed time to be with Jen and the girls but was seen instead swilling beer at the NRL with his mates.

  5. Kronomex

    “…consult widely on this extremely complex integrity commission…”

    LNP questionnaire to the LNP for consulting widely:

    Are you shit scared that if we have an integrity commission that all our rorts, dirty deals, and corruption could be paraded in front of the peasants?
    If you answer “Yes” to the Q1 should we then waffle, fib, delay and obfuscate every chance we get when the matter is raised?
    If you answered “Yes” to Q1 and Q2 should we then continue to blame Labor and keep attacking Dan Andrews in the hope that attention for a FIC will fade?
    If you answered “Yes” to Q1 – 3 then just write “Fuck ’em and bury it.” here as your answer.

    I’m sure there are many other questions that could be added but I haven’t had coffee yet. 🙂

  6. Keitha Granville

    It should not be up to the government of the day to set up ICAC. It should be a court mandated body, totally independent and separate. We will be waiting for a lifetime.

  7. Ross

    Thank you John Lord, you have hit upon the real answer to why the government won’t have a proper federal ICAC.
    The sheer volume of work required to investigate six or seven years of coalition government.

  8. Wayne Turner

    Can’t have a Federal Integrity Commission set up,by the government with no integrity.

    The corrupt to the core COALition,aided by their promotional wing the MSM,will continue to avoid setting one up,no matter what.

    Sadly,and ultimately they will get away with this,when enough gullible idiots of the public keep voting for them.These people from the public,are morally bankrupted too.

  9. Terence Mills

    Let’s assume for a moment that there had been an Integrity Commission and that the matter of the forged documents emanating from a minister’s office – and surreptitiously provided to that esteemed publication of record, the Daily Telegraph with the intention of damaging the reputation of the Sydney City Council and its officers – and that the federal ICAC had deemed this to be a matter of integrity and referred it to the Australia Federal Police for action. Only to find that the AFP were, like our government when it comes to establishing an Integrity Commission, too busy : what then ?

  10. John Lord

    Good question Terence.

  11. Andrew Smith

    Good overview. The LNP are actually quite powerless and have simply become perception managers and/or avoiders of responsibility, helped by mainstream media.

    This is because they have no real grounded power through independently developed policies for Australia with a broad colaition of MPs and interests…. the coalition is in the position of having to accept policies from industry and/or think tanks then being overseen by media, for adoption and execution.

  12. New England Cocky

    @Andrew Smith: The Nazional$ have insufficient talent to be any use to progressive government for the best interests of Australian voters. At present 3/8 NSW state electorates are represented by INDEPENDENT or SFF MPs.

    Judging by the active effectiveness of those three MPs it appears likely that the remaining 5/8 electorates may reject the Nazional$ at any and every election in the future.

    The sooner the better because by VOTING ANYONE BUT NAT$ Australian voters working in agriculture and living in urbans regional towns & cities will demonstrate that they reject the uncaring, self-serving, amoral, corrupt Party that now serves the foreign owned multinational mining corporations rather than Australian voters.

  13. Owen CL

    Ah a federal ICAC, what a wet dream. Unless big business and the fossil fuels sector is removed from the government it has zero chance of happening, let alone Murdoch and Kerry Stokes propaganda channels that should be deemed as political influence.
    Morriscums attacks on China makes little sense ( considering the foreign interference laws, when we have Murdoch and the evil LNP state media channel of his, news corp), we have overwhelming political influence from Murdoch and some of these fossil fuel companies which are America hence being foreign interference. But really most of Morriscums attacks on China this year were largely due his misconduct (Sports rort saga for example) leading him to take swipe at a easy target that appeals to the dumb, drunk and racist voter base that idolize a white Australia policy. Unfortunately little shall done whilst we have quite potentially the worst of the worst PM’s to ever lead the country in downward spiral towards a complete dictatorship. How this scumbag ever managed to slime his way up the greasy pole of federal parliament beggers belief, now we may be stuck with him for another term unfortunately when a federal election is called quite possibly mid next year.

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