It seems corruption and incompetence are no impediment to the Coalition when handing out lucrative gigs to their mates. The examples of them not only ignoring wrongdoing but rewarding it are endless.
Ex-chairman of the ABC board, Justin Milne, became a Non Executive Director of betting firm Tabcorp in August 2011. He is a member of the Tabcorp Risk and Compliance Committee.
In March last year, the Federal Court found Tabcorp failed to alert regulators to reports of suspicious behaviour on 108 occasions over more than five years and fined them $45 million for breaches of anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing laws. The civil penalty awarded against Tabcorp is believed to be the highest in Australian corporate history.
“Its money laundering and terrorism financing function was at times under-resourced and Tabcorp senior management didn’t regularly receive reports in relation to the money laundering and terrorism finance compliance,” AUSTRAC chief executive Paul Jevtovic said
“This was a serious failure in the corporate governance and the size of the penalty reflects a significant and extensive noncompliance. In my view, the noncompliance arises from a corporate culture that is indifferent to money laundering and terrorism financing requirements.”
Tabcorp is also facing possible foreign bribery charges for a payment of $200,000 in 2010 (before Mr Milne’s appointment) to the family of Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen.
Likewise, the new acting chair of the ABC, Kirstin Ferguson, was the head of the ethics committee at Leighton Holdings when a whistleblower disclosed to her serious allegations of foreign bribery. She buried the report and the whistleblower was sacked. This case will return to court on October 22 when former senior executive Peter Gregg faces criminal charges of falsifying books and records.
Then there is the ongoing Securency/Note Printing Australia case, where a whistleblower reported his concerns to management about ongoing corrupt practices on numerous occasions and as a result was subject to various forms of harassment, intimidation and eventually forced from his job.
In October 2011, Securency and NPA pleaded guilty to three charges each of conspiring to bribe foreign public officials and were ordered to pay penalties of $19.8 million and $1.8 million respectively under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002. On 20 August 2012, Mr David Ellery, former Chief Financial Officer of Securency was sentenced by the Supreme Court of Victoria to imprisonment for six months, wholly suspended for two years.
The OECD reports that, in addition to Securency and NPA, nine former executives and sales agents of the two subsidiaries were charged with foreign bribery, conspiracy to commit foreign bribery, and/or false accounting.
The trials have been shrouded in secrecy, with the court orders and identities of certain individuals unknown due to suppression orders. These prosecutions are ongoing and are reported to be the longest committal proceeding in Victorian history.
Former deputy RBA governor Graeme Thompson and former Reserve Bank board member Dick Warburton were NPA directors at the time.
Mr Thompson is now a director of AMP Superannuation and Warburton is chairman of the Westfield Retail Trust. A fellow NPA director, Mark Bethwaite, is on the board of the Sydney Catchment Authority and was treasurer of the federal Liberal Party between 2006 and 2008.
Dick Warburton was appointed by Prime Minister Tony Abbott to review Australia’s renewable energy target even though he was under internal investigation into his role in Australia’s worst foreign bribery scandal.
Then there is our new Assistant Treasurer, Stuart Robert, who has many clouds hanging over him.
He accompanied Liberal donor Paul Marks to China to sign a mining deal from which he would profit. He accepted a Rolex watch from Chinese billionaire Li Ruipeng. He was called before the Queensland Crime and Corruption Commission regarding dodgy council elections.
Then, in 2017, it was revealed that Robert had direct financial links with a company, the GMT Group, which was awarded millions of dollars worth of government contracts. This may have meant that he was in breach of the eligibility requirements of Section 44 of the Constitution of Australia at past elections, however, as Robert had been re-elected to Parliament since breaking ties with the company, there was no possibility of his in-doubt past elections being challenged in the High Court. Stuart Robert’s parents were listed as the directors of his company for six years without their knowledge.
While the government rails on at length about welfare cheats and union corruption, political and corporate malfeasance is ignored and miscreants can look forward to their next lucrative seat on the gravy train.