What is it in the hearts and minds of men (l declare women more honest than men, but they also indulge) that turns them into liars, robbers, cheats, people of ill repute, corrupt scoundrels who would take from the public purse – that which is not theirs – in order to feather their own nest?
When an act of dishonesty is committed by powerful people, be it in the media, by the police, public servants, by inducement or by politicians it is nothing more than corruption.
However, any commission or its governing legislation needs to clarify just what corruption is as opposed to just bad governance.
Are the sports rorts corruption, or just politics, or more likely a cover up?
The AFP are currently looking into the sale of land in NSW at the site of a new airport. In my view that is corruption as is the controversy over the sale of water.
Is it possible that a crime against the common good can be committed? Was the implementation of Robodebt a form of corruption, a crime, or just bad execution?
If all the LNP errors, mistakes and corrupt activities during their tenure were all lumped in the same basket as corruption and looked at retrospectively, then a commission would have years of work.
Be it bribery, or any other form of illegal activity, the list of corruption would be as long as one’s arm depending on the innovation, sophistication, or subtle covert forms the perpetrator used.
What contaminates them to the point that power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely? It is a question as old as the ages.
Corruption learns from its mistakes and over time gets better at it, particularly in politics where ethics is expected but isn’t monitored.
I ask myself these questions while at the same time advocating for a Federal Corruption Commission, and l conclude that corruption is innate in man and has always been so. After all, our jails are full of men and women who have committed crimes against society.
It would seem temptation is something beyond our control and therefore in need of some oversight. Turning a blind eye to it is also a form of corruption.
Somewhere, corruption is being carried out today because greed is intrinsic in people and in politics it is relatively easy to get away with. Politicians don’t want to be investigated so they protect themselves against investigation.
In Australia, at the last election, both Labor and the conservative parties agreed in their policy platforms to formulate some form of oversight-similar to a NSW style ICAC.
The conservative parties have had draft legislation for almost three years but use every excuse to do nothing.
In February of this year Paddy Manning writing for The Monthly said that Attorney-General Christian Porter told Perth radio that the draft legislation, “now running to more than 300 pages, was ‘very close’,” however, given the total scandals of the Morrison government, it well may be that a proper federal anti-corruption agency will be buried and cremated before it gets any worse.
Remember the legislation was promised by years end, 2019?
Porter now says that:
“… the government was still committed to establishing the CIC but would not give any concrete timeline, saying only that the draft legislation would be released ‘at an appropriate time’.”
He goes on to add that he has been so busy with COVID-19 that he hasn’t had the time to put into the legislation.
To that I would say that the commonwealth is spending hundreds of billions of dollars in taxpayer’s money in order to combat a recession. It is rife for exploitation and corruption. He should find the time.
From what we know so far, the Federal Integrity Commission legislation is so weak that it would not have the power to investigate the Leppington Triangle deal.
Without the ability to investigate scandals of this proportion then it wouldn’t have any teeth at all.
On top of that, conservatives would never legislate a policy detrimental to its own ability to commit activities that advantages them. Even if such activities might be considered suspicious.
The Shadow Attorney General Mark Dreyfus said in Parliament that:
“… it had now been two and a half years since the government started work on the CIC, which he described as ‘weak, ineffective, and opaque’.”
He is correct. It doesn’t even allow for public hearings. Corruption of the sort we are discussing doesn’t enter the equation, and it has very weak powers.
I predict they will now blame the opposition for failing to agree.
My thought for the day
Time never diminishes the crime.
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