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If Gladys is a “great candidate”, our country is truly corrupt

By TBS Newsbot

Gladys Berejiklian managing to resign in disgrace, face the ICAC and bag a better job is emblematic of Australia becoming more corrupt.

Stop me if you think that you’ve heard this one before, but it seems that yet another public servant mired in political scandal will not only go unpunished, but will fail upwards. Today, Scott Morrison (alongside senior Liberal Party members) told the media that he would welcome Gladys Berejiklian to federal politics, regardless of the outcome of the ICAC hearing. For those of you playing at home, this is the scandal involving hundreds of millions of taxpayer funds potentially incorrectly spent, the one that she resigned over, and included (at the very least) turning a blind eye to the wanton shenanigans of her lover, disgraced Wagga Wagga MP Daryl Maguire.

On September 7, Jodi McKay, the Labor Member for Strathfield, took to social media to ask the questions that we should be asking, and indeed, the questions Gladys should be answering. Tagging the premier in her tweet, McKay directly asked, “Why did you fail to fulfil your legal obligation and report Daryl Maguire to (the) ICAC?”

In the words of McKay, Berejiklian “knew and did nothing”. As The Guardian outlined on October 12, “During a morning of stunning revelations, the inquiry heard intercepted phone calls in which Maguire told Berejiklian that he potentially stood to make hundreds of thousands of dollars if land owned by the racing heir Louise Waterhouse near the site of the new Western Sydney airport was rezoned. The payment would have been enough to pay off ‘about half’ of his $1.5m personal debt, Maguire told Berejiklian in one phone call. Berejiklian responded: ‘I don’t need to know about that bit.’”

McKay also posed another question, of which Berejiklian answered, albeit indirectly. McKay asked, “A leader sets the standard for her Government, what standard are you setting for NSW?”

That afternoon’s Question Time, Berejiklian offered the following to excuse her toleration of corruption by saying: “I did no more than what the opposition did during corruption during their term in government…”

Despite all this, Morrison told reporters in Sydney that Berejiklian would be “very welcome” in his team and would be a “great” candidate for the independent-held seat, comments backed earlier by the finance minister, Simon Birmingham, and the environment minister, Sussan Ley.

As reported elsewhere, “nominations for the Liberal candidacy in Warringah have been extended to 14 January, a timeline that will allow Berejiklian to consider any recommendations for findings made in submissions by counsel assisting ICAC by 20 December. The submissions will not be public.”

As Paul Karp of The Guardian put it, “Despite the ongoing ICAC controversy, Berejiklian would walk into the Liberal nomination if she decided to put her hand up.”

Clearly, political accountability has become Australia’s Bunyip. We’ve all heard rumours, but nobody has managed to see it with their own two eyes. So, it comes as no surprise that our international credibility as a nation is slipping. In January 2019, Transparency International released its Corruption Perceptions Index, noting Australia’s slide into wrongdoing, finding it to be the 13th least corrupt nation.

Transparency International Australia chief executive Serena Lillywhite shared a range of issues which she believes are impairing our reputation as a democracy which actively targets corruption:

“The misuse of travel allowances, inadequate regulation of foreign political donations, conflicts of interest in planning approvals, revolving doors and a culture of mateship, inappropriate industry lobbying in large-scale projects such as mining, and the misuse of power by leading politicians have no doubt had an impact”.

Wind the clock forward, and while Australia has moved up a smidge, as we’re now the 12th-least corrupt nation in the world, Transparency International has flagged us as one of the 21 nations where perceived corruption has worsened “significantly” over the past eight years. Interestingly, 34% believed that corruption had significantly increased since then.

Indeed, the last twelve months has seemingly been a smorgasbord of political wrongdoing. Outside the many scandals of Gladys Berejiklian, or Peter Dutton hand-picking where grant money went, with the Sydney Morning Herald’s Katina Curtis noting that Dutton “diverted almost half the total pool of funding away from recommended projects to his handpicked ones in January 2019.”

A July audit of the Coalition-run commuter car park program found that “not one of the 47 commuter car park sites promised by the Coalition at the 2019 election was selected by the infrastructure department, with projects worth $660m handpicked by the government on advice of its MPs and candidates.”

The Australian National Audit Office released the findings, claiming that the program was “not effective” and identification of projects “was not demonstrably merit-based”, leading to shadow urban infrastructure minister, Andrew Giles calling the program “sports rorts on steroids”.

Perhaps the mindset could be best defined by the cocksure nonsense of Deputy NSW Premier John Baliaro, who defended the use of bushfire relief funds to pork-barrel his interests, claiming it is ‘what elections are for’.

Transparency International shares four key recommendations in order for us to buck the trend: “Putting in place laws and institutions that will prevent corrupt acts from happening in the first place. Legal frameworks and access to information are essential components of a healthy political system where citizens can play a role in demanding accountability and preventing corruption. Whistleblower protection mechanisms and autonomous, well-resourced anti-corruption agencies are also a must in the Asia Pacific region. Reducing impunity for the corrupt. Professional and independent justice systems are necessary where police and prosecutors can respond to technical criteria and not political power plays. Improving space for civil society to speak out. Governments should ensure that activists can speak freely throughout the region without fear of retaliation. Improving integrity and values. Schools and universities should educate youth about ethics and values. Corporations should promote business integrity in the private sector and make these ideas more mainstream.”

This article was originally published on The Big Smoke.

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12 comments

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  1. ROY EDWARDS

    Only one statement encapsulates Glady’s joining the federal LNP………CONSORTING WITH THE RORTING…….

  2. craig robson

    Gladys resigned bcoz questions were asked! No findings yet, just questions that wouldn’t let her do a Sgt Schulz.
    The delicious irony is ICAC was originally set up the Liarberal party to go after Neville Wran and co, it has so far forced the resignation of 3 Liarberal premiers, LOL

  3. New England Cocky

    ” Transparency International has flagged us as one of the 21 nations where perceived corruption has worsened “significantly” over the past eight years” Funny how that ”past eight (8) years” corresponds EXACTLY with the reign of infamy & incompetence of the RAbbott-Turdball-Scummo Triumvate.

    It’s Time!! ….. AGAIN!! And the sooner the better for Australian voters and their families.

  4. Henry Rodrigues

    Cheer up folks, now St Gladys gets to spread her legs,er horizons, at a federal level. The male coalition members must be throbbing in anticipation, the likes of Tudge, and the new England fornicator are literally shaking and heaving. Christian P might even take back his resignation.

    Merry Christmas indeed !!!! Ho Ho Ho.

  5. Josephus

    Agree but labor has to stop approving gas projects.

  6. GL

    The LNP seem to have reached that stage of arrogance where they believe that they have been chosen to rule forever and as such can do whatever they want whenever they want without fear of being held accountable.

  7. GL

    My comment should have read:

    “The LNP has reached that stage of overarching arrogance where they believe that they have been chosen to rule forever and as such can do whatever they want whenever they want without fear of being held accountable.”

  8. wam

    Gladys has the physical attributes, the prerequisite skills and experience to fulfil any requirement of the office of minister of the crown and is the equal of any current LNP politician at parliament house.

  9. Mr Bronte ALLAN

    Shame, shame, shame as Derryn Hinch used to say! That this lying corrupt, rabble of flat earth, happy clapping, car parks rorting, robo-debt creating, airport financing etc etc–oh, did I not say LYING, seem to think they can say & do as they please & get away with it. WTF?? Gladys would certainly fit in with ALL their loony lot well, to hell with what the ICAC investigations has uncovered & the vast number of “normal” thinking adults believe!

  10. Ross

    Scotty says Gladys would be a great candidate for Warringah and Scotty thinks most of the voters of said electorate would agree. But such a juicy story the MSM can’t or won’t bury and this saga has a way to run before the election. ICAC and a popular local member, the odds are stacked against even Golden Gladys if she finally decides to run.
    And if she does run you have to wonder what the voters of the other 150 lower house seats think of Gladys and the Liberal Party in the whole tawdry affair.
    Labor must be delighted.

  11. Pagnol

    The headline says it all. And sadly it is not breaking news.

  12. corvusboreus

    Yep, any endorsement for Gladys, the barrel-porker under current ICAC investigation, to run against Ms Steggal is an explicit embrace of the current levels of political corruption.

    This does not mean the majority of citizens support corruption, the polled majority of the population consistently support implementing a federal ‘anti-corruption’ body (crime prevention).

    Unfortunately, all the major parties currently offer is variations on an ‘integrity commission’ (honesty encouragement).

    One would almost think that entrenched party politics are deliberately thwarting majority civic intent.

    PS, Apparently a wide swathe of the polled polis are also deeply uncomfortable with our stewards of state being persistently drunk at the helm.

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