There is a scene being played out in the NSW ICAC that could well be a tv series entitled Overbelly about the nefarious dealings of the Overworld.
Obeid and Tripodi keep popping up but the toll for the other side is turning into a rout. There are now seven Coalition parliamentarians standing aside from their normal duties in New South Wales, after featuring in ICAC’s investigations.
In Queensland, we have Ken Levy, the acting chair of the Crime and Corruption Commission, under police investigation as to whether he lied to a parliamentary committee, which is a criminal offence.
Mr Levy wrote an article in defence of the anti-bikie laws in the Courier-Mail. When a parliamentary committee questioned this, it was disbanded. The police investigation is about whether he lied about what contact he’d had with the government before he wrote the article. It may seem trivial but if we cannot rely on the independence of our judiciary then we are stuffed.
Rules about political donations have been seen as just extra paperwork as money is transferred around. Most of this is legal. It isn’t illegal for someone’s mother to donate $580,400. Any subsequent windfalls of development rights on crown property to someone have been absolutely legitimate… apparently. Brown paper bags are so tacky when you have accountants and relatives.
People like Tony Fitzgerald and Ted Mack have long been calling for a Federal Corruption watchdog and the Greens have echoed their call.
In what appears to me a “head em off at the pass” move, the government quietly brought into existence an AFP-Hosted Fraud and Anti-Corruption Centre last week.
“The Coalition Government has formally established the (FAC) Centre located in the Australian Federal Police (AFP) headquarters, with the recent signing of a Commonwealth multi-agency Memorandum of Understanding – marking a new era in the approach to dealing with fraud and corruption at a federal level.
The FAC Centre brings together the Australian Taxation Office, Australian Securities and Investments Commission, Australian Crime Commission, Australian Customs and Border Protection Service, Department of Human Services, Department of Immigration and Border Protection, Department of Defence, and Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in order to assess, prioritise and respond to serious fraud and corruption matters.
The FAC Centre has been designed to triage and evaluate serious and complex fraud and corruption referrals to deliver an effective Commonwealth multi-agency response when serious concerns are raised.
They will investigate serious and complex fraud, corruption and foreign bribery matters, including identity crimes.”
Well that should clear things up.
One wonders just how close is the association between Tony Abbott, George Brandis, and the AFP. One wonders many things… like which slush funds are worthy of Royal Commissions and which cases of misuse of entitlements should be referred to the police.
To paraphrase Sixto Rodriguez…
I wonder how many times we’ve been had
And I wonder how many plans are just bad
I wonder how many lives will be wrecked
I wonder do you know who’ll be next
I wonder l wonder wonder I do
I wonder about the love you can’t wed
And I wonder about the homeless unfed
I wonder how much caring have you got
And I wonder about our friends at the top
I wonder I wonder I wonder I do
I wonder about the tears in children’s eyes
And I wonder about the soldier that dies
I wonder will this hatred ever end
I wonder and worry my friend
I wonder I wonder wonder don’t you?
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