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Taskforce integrity. Let’s start with politicians, shall we?

You may or may not be aware that in November 2015, the Turnbull government announced the formation of “Taskforce Integrity”, a unit set up specifically to address welfare fraud in the form of undeclared income and non-compliance.

WA Turnbull government MP Steve Irons tweeted his support of the innovation (see tweet below).

Yesterday we learned that Mr Irons charged taxpayers for flights from Perth to Melbourne for his wedding, and he also charged us for flights from Melbourne back to Perth for himself and his new wife, Cheryle.

Treasurer Scott Morrison also charged taxpayers for the cost of his flight to the Irons’ wedding. Both men have since repaid those monies.

Returning money you’ve stolen doesn’t mean you didn’t steal it in the first place. I am reasonably confident that neither thief would have repaid the money had their thieving activities not been exposed, or in danger of exposure.

Irons also charged the taxpayer for a trip he made to the Gold Coast to attend a golf tournament.

I have no problem with addressing welfare fraud. I do have a very big problem with politicians stealing taxpayer money to fund their personal lives, and can’t quite see why they are any different from those who seek to illegally and immorally benefit from the welfare system.

Even with my new glasses, I’m unable to see why those who defraud the welfare system should be charged and perhaps incarcerated, whilst those who defraud the taxpayer are given the opportunity to return the money, face no charges, and no jail time.

Integrity, much?

Yesterday I watched in weary disbelief as Attorney-General George Brandis claimed that his government is holding a plebiscite on marriage equality because the Australian people want a plebiscite, and we made this clear when we re-elected the Turnbull government, thus giving it a mandate.

The Turnbull government has a majority of one seat in the House of Representatives. This is hardly a mandate in anyone’s language.

Let’s quickly revisit the origins of this plebiscite. The notion was introduced by failed prime minister Tony Abbott to placate the rabid right-wing of his party who are incapable of rational thought on the topic of same-sex marriage, and appear to view it as a catastrophic threat to their own heterosexual identities and unions.

Abbott was also inspired by the Irish referendum. He disregarded the fact that Ireland was obliged to alter its constitution to accommodate marriage equality, while we are not. In Australia, it is a matter of a simple amendment to the Marriage Act, changed to discriminate against same-sex marriage in 2004 by the LNP prime minister who lost his seat after taking us into the Iraq invasion on entirely spurious grounds, and without any plebiscite, John Howard. But that’s another sickening story of lies, manipulation, immorality, death, despair and destruction.

Brandis concluded his litany of folded lies with the assertion that unless the opposition agree to a plebiscite, marriage equality will be delayed until the mid 2020’s, assuming the LNP wins the next election.

The Turnbull government is using the LGBTQI community for its own political purposes: delaying marriage equality as long as possible to placate the right-wing homophobes who permit Turnbull to play at being Prime Minister, and to wedge the ALP.

All that is required is an amendment to the Marriage Act, and Brandis made it clear yesterday that will never happen as long as the LNP are in power. This is not because we the people demand a plebiscite, and it is not because of any reasonable argument against marriage equality. It is because the likes of Cory Bernardi and George Christensen are terrified of the gays and lesbians and bisexuals and queers and transgender and intersex peoples. We are going through all this expense and all this angst because some seriously unhinged men, obsessed with the sexuality of others, cannot cope with the idea of difference.

Personally, I think the Marriage Act ought to be abolished. There’s no place for the state in intimate relationships. However, as long as it exists, and as long as it remains the powerful cultural marker that it is, nobody should be forbidden access to its legal and societal privileges.

And on the grounds that some ignorant, terrified, dysfunctional men don’t like what other people do in bed?

Integrity, much?

This article was originally published on No Place For Sheep.

 

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17 comments

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  1. Stephen

    The difference is obvious I am surprised you can not see it, It’s always different when it’s them or theirs and not those others.

  2. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Politicians helping themselves to taxpayer dollars for private purposes, is much worse than welfare fraud.

    Politicians are paid good salaries and have the prospects of great pensions, while also having a plethora of employment opportunities after their public lives finish.

    On the other hand, so-called welfare fraud encompasses a wide field of participants. An unemployed person, on a savagely below-the-poverty-line fortnightly payment, can be accused of welfare fraud, if they fail to report a meagre, temporary additional income because they aren’t allowed to earn more than $104 per fortnight. What a sick joke!

    If anti-CHRIST Porter was fair dinkum about fighting welfare dependence and welfare abuse, he would be prioritising incentives for people to earn additional income WITHOUT losing their meagre Newstart payment, if that additional income is only temporary and/or irregular and unpredictable.

    Hence, the fact that Snotty Morrisscum and Steve Irons stole those taxpayer dollars in the first place, means they are both guilty of theft or fraud or both. They should be investigated for criminal conduct and receive the legal consequences of being sacked, severely fined, incarceration and loss of reputation.

  3. bobrafto

    What is the ‘Minchin protocol’?
    The Minchin protocol was introduced in 1998 to handle complaints of alleged misuse of expenses by federal parliamentarians. It is named after the then special minister of state, senator Nick Minchin, because he tabled the legislation. The protocol was established to avoid accusations of partisanship when handling claims of misuse from both sides of parliament, by having them handled by the Finance Department instead of at a ministerial level.

    Under the protocol it is not uncommon for politicians to repay expenses which have been wrongly claimed, but the department will investigate the claims and ask for an explanation to ensure expenses were not claimed incorrectly on purpose.

    As part of the protocol, the exchanges between the office and the member being investigated are kept private, as is the result of any investigation. However, documents relating to travel expense repayments can be accessed through freedom of information (FOI) laws.

    How much are politicians incorrectly claiming expenses?

    The latest FOI documents that can be found on the department’s website – apart from those relating to the opposition leader, Tony Abbott, which were posted on 5 July this year – are from 2010.

    They show how much parliamentarians had to repay because of incorrectly claimed family travel entitlements between 2005 and 2010 (they also could have been asked to repay expenses claimed for other reasons, but that is not shown in these figures).

    Leaving the former Speaker and now independent Sunshine Coast MP, Peter Slipper, out of the equation for now, over the period 29 Liberal and National party members repaid $57,064.34, while 22 Australian Labor party MPs repaid $31,089.02.

    Together the Greens and independent MP Bob Katter repaid $2,003.47. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/jul/11/minchin-protocol-expenses-tony-abbott

    And thinking of Slipper does anyone really think that Brough and Ashby will ever face a court?

    The AFP are hoping we will forget all about it. They’re still investigating after 3 long years even though Brough criminally incriminated himself on 60 minutes.

  4. Wun Farlung

    bobrafto I think they will face court only when the ALP win an election

    Steve Irons has form with getting his fingers caught in the till.
    Mr Irons is MP for the electorate in live in
    I have sent him several emails since moving into Swan, with regard to my concerns about foreign entities donating money to political parties, his own questionable expenses and the wasteful use & abuse of his electoral allowance to stuff our mailbox with his/Liberal Party brand of bullshit, the latest of which totally overlooked the fact that the election was held almost 3 months ago and instead focused on “Labor lies about Medicare” laughably on the same day that cutting back on Medicare claims service is announced
    I have never had a reply, so I am lead to believe that there has to be some truth to my concerns.

  5. lawrencewinder

    Liarbril = Corruption! AFP = Corruption! Why not, it’s the Liarbril’s private constabulary.

  6. Harquebus

    Politicians lie to us but, it is main stream journalists that let them get away with it.
    The LBGTIXYZ issue is being thrashed to death. It is unimportant and is a distraction from far more important issues.

  7. vivienne29

    Excellent and beautifully worded article.

  8. seaworks

    Surely a simple answer to the “plebiscite” fiasco would be to change it to a referendum.
    Same cost but result would be binding.
    It is all a waste of time and money and abort must be chuckling his head off on the back bench but…..

  9. Max Gross

    Ah yes, the rorters are in charge!

  10. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Wun Farlung,

    I hope Labor WILL ensure they take Snotty and Irons (amongst the other snouts in the trough) once Labor and their allies return to power.

  11. Ian Parfrey

    Once again, why aren’t the ALP screaming blue bloody murder over this? Considering the hoo har about Sam Dastiyari and the way the Liebrals milked it for all it’s worth, then WHY are the ALP not going for the jugular?
    UNLESS ….. the whole Dastiyari thing was staged for other, future gains?

  12. helvityni

    Yes, Ian, I thought the same, I bloody well hope that Labor will not cave in and end up supporting the plebiscite…

  13. Matters Not

    And on the grounds that some ignorant, terrified, dysfunctional men don’t like what other people do in bed?

    Not sure that it’s only ‘dysfunctional men’ that are ignorant and terrified when it comes to what other people do in bed.

    There’s the ‘odd’ female or two. (And as for the ‘odd’, give what meaning you like. Not that you have a choice re the ‘meaning giving’ process. It’s an inevitable aspect of the human condition.)

    Here’s Fiona Nash’s voting record for example.

    https://theyvoteforyou.org.au/people/senate/nsw/fiona_nash/policies/1

  14. Kronomex

    Irons and Morrison aren’t contrite, they just have the shits because they got caught out and had to to repay the dodgy claims out of their own pockets.
    The plebiscite is a distraction that seems to be working in the favour of the policy and moral free vacuum that is the LNP.

  15. helvityni

    On Q&A our feisty comedian Magda Szubanski asked the prim and proper Fiona if she thought that they were equal, I don’t remember how she replied but she looked as if she were worried that Magda might touch her…

  16. paulwalter

    Fiona Nash.. harsh conservative, but Magda Szubanski Is always a breath of fresh air.

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