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Integrity means far more than just not engaging in criminal conduct

Three years ago, Scott Morrison issued a press release promising to establish a new Commonwealth Integrity Commission. The stated aim of this body was to investigate criminal corruption.

Without looking any further, we already have a problem, because most of the integrity issues we have with our government are not considered corrupt let alone criminal.

I am sure that Gladys Berejiklian is certain she has done nothing wrong.

It’s not illegal to use public funds to bolster your political standing or that of whomever of your team you may be rooting at the time.

It’s not corrupt to ignore departmental advice about cost- benefit analyses in favour of captain’s picks.

It’s not criminal to hand out contracts without tender or grants without comparative appraisal.

As Glad and Pork Barilaro, reminded us, everyone does it. The spoils of war, so to speak.

Governments are under no compulsion to show us the basis for their decisions.

Cronyism, far from being considered corrupt, is de rigueur. There are no essential criteria or merit-based selection processes about whom you appoint to positions.

Politicians who wish to attend sporting events, New Year’s Eve parties, check up on their investment properties, or go to political fundraisers, only need have their photo taken in high vis or hair net somewhere or chat to a voter to claim their expense “entitlements”. No receipts necessary. It’s all “within the rules”. Bring the family.

The bullying and intimidation detailed by multiple female Liberal MPs and Senators during the 2018 leadership spill was not considered criminal behaviour.

Threatening the preselection of members in order to influence their vote on decriminalising abortion was found to be a contempt of the Queensland Parliament but attracted no punishment.

It’s not illegal to lie in political advertising and use public money to pay for your ads.

Lobby groups and individuals can contribute as much as they want to political campaigns and parties have no rules on how much they can spend.

It’s also not illegal for the people who make the taxation laws to invest their money in offshore tax havens, family trusts, and other tax avoidance schemes.

Integrity means the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles. That sets the bar far higher than just not engaging in criminal conduct.

How many of our politicians would pass a genuine integrity test?

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  1. pierre wilkinson

    I wonder if either major party would ever define a moral code of conduct and legislate it?

  2. Kaye Lee


    The whole point of integrity is doing something because it is right, not because the rules say so. Integrity is a personal thing. We each set our own standards.

  3. GL

    Integrity is just something the LNP wipe off the soles of their shoes after finishing the daily grifting and rorting.

  4. Ken

    I have just finished reading Lies and falsehoods by Bernard Keane and it’s no wonder we will never have an federal ICAC instigated by the Morrison government.

  5. Josephus

    A sober and evidence based appraisal. Unlike the UK we don’t have MPs who hold two jobs but we do have ministers who advance the interests of mining or fossil fuel companies and then by sheer coincidence get lucrative jobs with said companies later, and never get prosecuted, whereas whistle blowers do. Then there are the tax haven users, avoiding and perhaps evading tax. The ATO must uncover and make public their findings. I think the Romans complained of nepotism, and we have eg Putin with his kitschy mega palace…and our mediocre actor PM who finds holidays with wifey and the girls more important than being there for the citizens… pass the sick bag. Vote for the Greens or for independents , please. Labor does not clearly fight for refugees or whistleblowers, let alone reject the shysters who prefer Jesus to us mugs, sorry, voters.

  6. Kate Ahearne

    Thanks, Kaye.

    Unfortunately, integrity is not something we can rely on in anybody except ourselves.

    As you say, we can’t legislate for integrity. That means that we do need legislation to prevent the kinds of corruption in government that we now have no apparent option other than to endure.

  7. Kaye Lee

    Preselection is another area lacking in integrity. Tony Abbott, Malcolm Turnbull and Scott Morrison all interceded to ensure Craig Kelly was preselected against the wishes of local Liberals. And hasn’t that worked well for them.

    Look at the Queensland LNP Senate ticket – James McGrath, Matt Canavan and Amanda Stoker are their top three candidates – not an ounce of integrity among them. As Doug Cameron said when McGrath was first elected – “These are the people that are supposed to be the high-calibre Liberals. If this is the high-calibre Liberals I’d hate to go to a Liberal party branch in Queensland and see the low-lifes in operation.”

  8. Terence Mills

    Interesting that Porter has managed to avoid scrutiny of the donations he received for the purposes of suing our national broadcaster – he has thumbed his nose at us all.

    He used the legal veil of a so called blind trust to avoid his donor (s) being identified : it is the equivalent of a brown paper bag stuffed with money being left at his office door – wink wink, nod nod say no more.

    If this is a loophole in the rules on political donations why hasn’t it been closed instantly : why is Labor so quiet on these things ?

  9. Michael Taylor

    I’m sort of honoured to have Helen Haines (independent for Indi) as my local member. She is pushing for an integrity commission than any other member of Parliament.

    Over 1,000 days ago Morrison told her he’d set up an integrity commission, but surprise, surprise; he hasn’t.

    And Helen remembers. 😉

  10. Kaye Lee

  11. Michael Taylor

    So it’s not pork-barreling after all. It all comes down to having a very good local member.

    Who would have thunk?

  12. Michael Taylor

    Morrison’s dismissive nature when asked a question is so arrogant. Not to mention the falsity of the answer.

  13. Ross

    (WARNING, Sarcasm alert)
    Most of the public want an integrity commission, most politicians do not.
    But why have an integrity commission for people who have no integrity. This year the general public found out Federal Parliament is an integrity free zone. Some sort of commission is not going to make them act in an honest, open, ethical and transparent manner.
    Rupert’s main stream media can’t or won’t.
    No Kaye, far better to get rid of the lot and start again. Reset the political scoreboard.
    As Mr Everald Compton AO notes, two thirds of sitting politicians are not worth a pinch of goat shit anyway.
    Personally I think Mr Compton is being very generous in his assessment.

  14. Phil Pryor

    We have never ever had such a superslut political pervert in office as this P M, the Preposterous Mentality. He lies, cheats, sneers, exudes filth, evades questions, avoids honesty, embraces corruption. What a bowelful of brown bestiality and beastliness is this rotten rubbish ratbag. It is irritating to live in a once fine country, but now seeing its decline by institutional grubbiness in extreme. Conservative anuses in office have abounded, been bloodsucking and extracting forever, but this insolent unbalanced soiled shitsoulled slob is unique.

  15. Michael Taylor

    Phil, do you remember the days when Gillard and Rudd were called “media tarts”?

    You just gotta laugh given Morrison’s love affairs with a microphone or a camera.

  16. GL

    Michael, Scotty of the Gasconade Marketing is in love with himself. I reckon if he could clone himself he would. Then he would be able go to bed with himself and…weellll, I’ll leave the rest of that nightmare scenario unfinished.

  17. Kaye Lee

    In 2007, Federal Education Minister Julie Bishop accused Deputy Opposition Leader Julia Gillard of behaving like a “fashion model or TV star” rather than a politician.

    “You’re not a celebrity, you’re an elected representative, you’re a member of parliament. You’re not Hollywood and I think that when people overstep that line they miss the whole point of that public role.”

    “Of course, people want to know more about you, but I don’t think you should be courting that celebrity status as if you’re a fashion model or a TV star, because you’re not,” she said.

    Oh the irony…..

  18. Michael Taylor

    GL, what is once seen, cannot be unseen.

    The mental image will haunt me. 😁

  19. Kaye Lee

    Ms Bishop said The Australian Weekend Magazine shoot, in which Ms Gillard posed in designer clothes and pearls, was “her Cheryl Kernot moment”.

    “Why would you go along and do a fashion shoot as Julia Gillard did the other day, with clothes by Carla Zampatti, jewellery by . . . hair by . . .?” Ms Bishop said. “That’s not what it’s all about.”

    Ms Bishop said posing for magazine covers was “not my style”.

  20. Kathy

    I’ve never in my life would have thought, “Oh, I can’t wait until the next election, I so hope they are voted out.’

  21. Michael Taylor

    Kathy, I knew a bloke who would complain about the govt non-stop yet nearing Election Day he’d moan; “Not another bloody election!”


  22. Michael Taylor

    I remember that, Kaye. Gobsmacking hypocrisy.

  23. Kathy

    Michael, It sounds like that bloke just wanted to complain about everything for the sake of complaining.

  24. corvusboreus

    The ALP have shifted away from pretending that parliament currently operates with any semblance of integrity and formally acknowleged, in both language and policy, the existence of dryrot & woodgrubs within parliament’s halls.

    They have adopted the policy of committing to a National Anti Corruption Commission (NACC), and even published a brief summary of it’s intended modus operandi.

    Methinks this is a very positive move that I and so many others have long clamoured for, and I reckon this ALP concession to public demand should be acknowledged and amplified.

  25. Michael Taylor

    He was, Kathy.

    It’s too hot.
    It’s too cold.
    It’s too wet.
    It’s too dry.

  26. B Sullivan

    The problem with corruption is not that it is criminal but that it is malignant and destructive and if unchecked the corruption will continue to spread.

    Look how Gladys’s corrupted view of integrity has already spread to those who, in spite of all that has been revealed, still feel obliged to defend her failure to declare her many conflicts of interest.

    The PM of a do nothing government actually sought democratic endorsement of this growing malignancy by calling for Gladys to run for Federal Parliament (presumably in a well pork-barreled safe Liberal Party seat to ensure that she would win) while at the same time condemning those who had dutifully exposed her.

    What then would be the point of a Federal ICAC if corruption is tolerated and exonerated by the ballot box as acceptable normal behavior until it is proven to be criminal in a court of law?

  27. Terence Mills

    Seems we are deep in spin-cycle with conflicting information and announcements in abundance.

    We are told that the COVID emergency is over, everything is back to normal no more lockdowns and no more border closures. But then we hear that Omicron is ripping through communities worldwide and we must hasten our vaccines boosts. The NSW health minister tells us that we could have 25,000 new infections per day in the new year.
    Then we are told that there is plenty of vaccine for everyone and not to panic : my local GP told me that I couldn’t get a booster shot until February due to the rush and shortage of vaccines.

    Then Frydenberg comes out and says that unemployment will be down to 4.5% in the new year (in time for the election no doubt) and that means it will be at the lowest since the boom days of the 1970’s. Then I hear of friends put off during the COVID peak unable to find a job other than intermittent fruit picking.

    Then we hear from Treasury that our Gross Government Debt has hit just under one trillion dollars ($963 Billion) the highest ever and predictions that future generations will be saddled with repaying this debt because we won’t be able to and then the prime minister is forecasting further cuts to taxation in the budget (prior to the election) : how does that work ?

    We are told that we must boost migration intake by hundreds of thousand to take up jobs that don’t seem to exist and to soak up housing that isn’t there – migrants are consumers and they apparently will get us out of trouble with all their consumption : how does that work ?

    If my washing machine was stuck on spin cycle the way this government are, I would trade it in for a new one – imported of course – we don’t make things anymore but as the prime minister says we are good at digging things up !

  28. GL

    And so we see the inevitable (almost exponential?) increase in Covid infections after the borders are opened and isolation protocols thrown out the window and people can wander around as they please and what does Scotty of the Marketing say?

    ““That’s what living with the virus is,” he told 4BC Radio in Queensland. “The virus is there, Omicron is in Australia. We’re going to live with this virus not let it drag us back where we’ve been.””

    NSW is copping it and it’s only going to get worse, much worse,but we MUST keep the borders open.


  29. Kaye Lee

    Pat Cummins told he’s a close contact of a positive case 4 hours before the Test starts. ARRRRGGGGHHHHH

  30. Michael Taylor

    Kaye, sounds like his IQ is on par with his batting average.

    PS: My IQ is 30x my batting average. 😁

  31. GL

    So your IQ is 30?

    I just could not resist that.

  32. Michael Taylor

    I left myself open for that one. 😁

    My batting average plummeted after my last game while holidaying in Cootamundra (the birthplace of Bradman). I told the guy in the pub I could handle a bat.

    And thus a legend was born.

    I’d tell people that Cootamundra produced amazing cricketers because between Bradman and I we had a batting average of 99.94. I glowed with pride when sensing their admiration.

    I failed to mention that Bradman’s test average was 99.94. 😁

  33. GL

    I was useless at handling a bat, the damned things kept escaping and flying off.

    Ooh boy, I feel a bad dose of punitis coming on.

  34. Canguro

    It’s hard to put a finger on it, or not, depending on how readily one is satisfied with one’s judgements, but this hypocritical behaviour of Julie Bishop in regard to Julia Gillard’s photoshoot seems to be a facet of a larger set of overarching phenomena that emerge along with the embedding within the club, even though Bishop was a critic of the male domination of that club. Nevertheless, she benefited from her inclusion and loyalty, her ministries including Foreign Affairs, Education, Women & Ageing (Wiki).

    Like many subsumed within the corridors of power that define the federal fishpond, she swallowed the myth of somehow being special, somehow destined. Let’s not forget though, at core, she was just another corporate whore, having taken a considerable gratuity as a lawyer acting on behalf CSR and James Hardie against damages claims by mesothelioma sufferers.

    The preferencing of dollars in the pocket over human suffering has always left me feeling mighty uneasy… I feel as though I’m dealing with the devil, or at least someone godless; indifferent to the hurts of others and prepared to advocate for the dismissal of their claims for compensation and happy to take considerable fees for protecting those questioned over their commercial negligence who were behind the victim’s illnesses.

    That this is so, and as evidenced by Kaye Lee’s link to the Google’s record of Bishop’s glam slam, paints a rather damning picture of yet another dysfunctional creature sitting – or who once sat – at the heart of political power in this country. I expect in a certain way she’s no better or worse than any number of others in similar circumstances who ought to be named & shamed, but politicians as a breed seem to be peculiarly inured to such criticism; Bush, Trump, Blair, Johnson, Morrison, Abbott, Howard et al… all guilty of enormous sins against the polity, but all essentially untouched by consequence.

    At least the Hungarian polly, Jozsef Szajer, had the sense to quit public life after being caught at a gay orgy in Brussels during the Covid lockdown. How many Australian politicians resign for bad behaviour, apart from Sam Dastyari?

  35. Kaye Lee

    Coalition women have been, and remain, the enablers of the atrocious behaviour of their male colleagues and have repeatedly denied there is any problem for women more broadly.

    In the interview with Harper’s Bazaar, Bishop warns women against complaining about being a woman, saying “stop whingeing, get on with it and prove them all wrong”.

    “Please do not let it get to you and do not become a victim, because it’s only a downward spiral once you’ve cast yourself as a victim,” Bishop told the fashion magazine.

    Righto all you snowflake women who call yourselves victims of domestic violence. Just get a decent job, buy your own place and get a nanny for the kids. As for sexual harassment, take it as a compliment.

    “I recognise that there was an extraordinary outpouring of goodwill towards Julia Gillard as our first female prime minister. But then, as should be the case, she was judged on her competence. And that’s where she was found wanting. She then turned herself into a victim and portrayed herself as a victim. That was her choice. But as far as I’m concerned she was being judged on her competence, her honesty, her performance as prime minister.” says Julie whose leader was the oh so honest and competent Tony Abbott.

    “You’re not going to get me saying that my career has been stymied because of a glass ceiling. I’m not going to blame the fact that I’m a woman for it not working. I might look at whether I was competent enough or I worked hard enough or did the breaks go my way but I’m not going to see life through the prism of gender,” she said. This was. of course, before she got shafted when Morrison staged his coup.

    Julie’s not a feminist. Neither is daughter of WA MP George Cash , Michaelia, who said “In terms of feminism, I’ve never been someone who really associates with that movement. That movement was a set of ideologies from many, many decades ago now. I consider myself a very lucky person whose parents told their four children to achieve, you work hard… All I know is that I believe in women … but I also believe in men.”

    It’s a wonder they can breathe that rarefied air up there where they are treated so well. I guess the rest of us just haven’t worked hard enough.

  36. Michael Taylor

    My haunting vision of Julie Bishop is of her shaking of her head in disbelief during Julia Gillard’s famous misogyny speech.

    Julia was standing up for women. Bishop was standing up for Tony Abbott.

    Carol and I saw Ms Bishop at the Perth airport a few years ago. She nodded and gave us a half smile. If only she could have read my thoughts.


    Let me just put all the comments in a nutshell. The worst bunch of crooks shonks aided by the most corrupt spineless media in the world.

    “Take a bow you bastards, you’ve finally achieved the title for the worst government in Australia’s history”

    As for the rusted on coalition voters and the rest of the braindead, get stuffed.

  38. wam

    happy days for scummo:
    the morning shows and the evening news are full of smiling announcers and beaming lnpers and fryerburgers all fawning over ‘it wont be long till we return to surplus’.
    facebook: the ABC is always negative didn’t we do anything good for aboriginals(sic) and the economy? Albo has to expose the people without carping. How hard is it to expose a lie out of so many? Start now albo tanya! Even how many carparks promised built and where might be a winner

  39. Kaye Lee

    Well you’d think so wam but Tim Wilson’s facebook page proudly announces

    Wonderful news for Glen Eira residents!
    Glen Eira Council recently voted 6-1 to build commuter car parks in Elsternwick & Bentleigh.
    Council put forward plans and the Morrison Government backed them in with the largest grant in Council history!

    That is of course total bullshit.
    “Two suburban commuter car parks promised at the 2019 federal election may not be delivered until 2024 after a local council raised concerns the “tainted” money was offered for projects that were never their priority.”
    Yet they were given $18 million.

  40. wam

    There must be more like that, Kaye, send it to Albo?
    economy this morning again made me gag at the memory of the same glee at the same thing with the negative labor debt spin.

  41. GL


    Don’t forget that LNP debt is good debt and Labor debt is the end of civilisation.


    wam and GL, the only and main reason the bastards get away with the BS, is the compliant corrupt media.

  43. Kaye Lee


    Some blame also has to go towards the people who don’t pay any attention to who they elect and what they do. And to the deliberate disinformation often spread on social media.

    The MSM (excluding Murdoch of course) do report on the rorts etc but there are so many, people forget and the news moves on to the next scandal. We have become inured to it. Stuff that would have horrified us and seen politicians resigning before is either ignored or vigorously defended.

    We have to keep chipping away. It feels like this time maybe more people are paying attention? We have to demand better from the people we elect.

  44. Henry Rodrigues

    Kaye Lee…. I might have added, the rusted on idiots and the other braindead, who seem oblivious to all the rorts and scandals, who never bother to wonder or enquire, are just as culpable. I know many, including members of my extended family, who fall into the category of idiots and braindead. I try as much and on, as many occasions, to enlighten them. maybe some things might penetrate their skulls and change them..

  45. Phil Pryor

    So much for comment, for venting, for outing.., and among them is J Bishop, a failed female impersonator who has swallowed fear of failure and adopts the safety of the oscillating finger over failed fascist frauds like Lightfoot, abandoned on a lower rung of her ladder of imagined progress. Cavorting with duds to get on in the party seems necessary at some stage for the brainlessly and unrestrained ambitious get-theres. Dudding sick and dying victims must have been a delight in her C V, plus her endless smiling non achievements with cool and savvy foreign ministers who saw and smelt her coming. But, she remains slightly less odious than excremental B. Bishop, totally excrementally flawed.

  46. Henry Rodrigues

    Ah J Bishop, the clothes horse always there to oblige, pirouetting in stilettos with glinting teeth, affording her paramour the joy of sitting in the UN chamber, delighting in the recognition of the other very polite country ambassadors, who diplomatically pretended she was worthy of being there. Even when her erstwhile collegues made it clear to all and sundry, she was really not worth the trouble and definitely not leadership material, she still ,out of ingrained but unavoidable loyalty to the party of misogynists, pledged her undying love and continued affection. Denigrating her counterpart J Gillard, will never erase the fact that she desperately wanted to be big banana but was thwarted by the very people she scraped and groveled to.

    Alas J.Bishop, all powdered up and sweet scented and nowhere to go, except perhaps to the $2 books basket outside the newsagents.

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