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The corrosive decay caused by secrecy

One lesson we should all take from the Royal Commission into Insititutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse is the horrific ongoing damage caused by the veil of secrecy drawn by the Catholic Church, and others, over the crimes that were being perpetrated on innocent children in their care.  That enabled the abusers to continue.

That same veil of secrecy has been drawn by the government over the plight of people who came to us seeking asylum.  Instead of offering sanctuary, we incarcerated them indefinitely causing irreparable damage to children and their families once again.

The corrupt Nauruan government are protecting their biggest money earner by ignoring Australian court orders for medical evacuations and by cancelling the visas of anyone who speaks out about the shocking deterioration of the health of detainees in the squalid, hopeless conditions they are forced to endure.  People under our care are dying yet our government washes its hands of any responsibility.

Just as our new PM washes his hands of any responsibility to address the bullying, intimidation, harassment and threats meted out to his own colleagues during the boys’ power play.  According to our own baseball-cap-wearing supposedly Christian leader, the curtain has been drawn on that.  If the bullies are to wear the consequences of their actions, it will be up to women who are strong enough to sacrifice their careers to expose them – I truly hope they name names.

Despite the obvious atrocious behaviour by our ex-deputy PM, despite an official complaint of sexual harassment and an investigation which found the complainant was “forthright, believable, open” and “genuinely upset” by the incident, the Nationals Party was unable to make a determination.  Yet again, “the report will be kept confidential”.  Barnaby has not been cleared, but the signal sent is don’t mess with our mate.

The secrecy surrounding government actions has seen them gift money and positions to organisations and individuals with no due process.  There are a multitude of phrases they use to justify this lack of transparency, “commercial in confidence” or “national security” being two of their faves.

Just as they resisted a Royal Commission into the banks, the government remains steadfastly against a federal corruption watchdog.  Real time reporting of donations is too hard, as is publishing their diaries so we could see what they are actually doing to earn their enormous salaries, not to mention who they are meeting with and what influence they may be exerting (and whether that flight, comcar and accommodation charge was actually work-related).

We pay a fortune to consultants to produce reports advising the government yet the government can withhold the information if they so choose.  The phrase they use there is that it is “a report to government, not by government”, completely ignoring the fact that the public paid for it.

Other organisations who receive funding – be they a charity, union, educational institution, NFP etc – must be open to intense scrutiny.  They must have policies and procedures in place to protect staff and clients, transparent complaint handing procedures, and be accountable for every cent they spend.

Whilst ever our government chooses what they will tell us and what they won’t, the appalling behaviour from our politicians won’t change.

Tell us the truth and let us be the judge.  You have no right to withhold information that allows us to make informed judgements.  You have no right to hide what you are doing with our money or to use it to reward those who may be useful to you.  You have no right to manipulate public sentiment with lies.  That is what bullies do.  And you reward that behaviour and empower them by your silence.

Transparent and accountable is what you promised.

You lied.

 


35 comments

  1. New England Cocky

    Well said Kaye Lee. But this is a Liarbral Notional misgovernment that said there was a financial crisis caused by the previous ALP government; they lied ….. and almost doubled the national deficit.

    The Liarbral backbencher Eric “of the Nazi family” Abetz said there was nothing in the inquiry into misogyny and sexual harassment by Barnyard Joke because there was “no determination”; they lied.

    The sometime representative of the National$ prefer adulterers in New England said there was no MDB water theft, yet the ABC Four Corners programme showed there was, and long standing local knowledge agreed; he lied.

    Barnyard Joke swore an marriage oath; he confessed to committing adultery; he lied.

    Perhaps when the women of New England recognise that supporting National$ is supporting adulterers there may be some progressive change.

    Somehow there seems to be a pattern here.

    Bring on the Federal election ASAP so that we may dispatch these lying bastards to the WPB of Australian history.

  2. Cara Clark

    Despite all this, almost half of the electorate persist in voting for them……..so depressing.

  3. John Lord

    Despite all this, almost half of the electorate persist in voting for them… Simply amazing. Makes one wonder how bad it has to get.

  4. Arthur Tarry

    CC – I totally agree.

  5. sydneysider246

    Also consider that our interim PM, and by that I mean Prime Minister NOT Pentecostal Minister, does not have a mandate from the people to do ANYTHING.

    Formulating policies that widely affect our community should be part of an election platform so, Mr Morrison, bring on an election and show us what you’ve got!

    Let’s then see if almost half of the electorate will return you!

  6. Mark Northover

    “Other organisations who receive funding………..NFP etc……..must be open ……….transparent complaint handing procedures, and be accountable”.

    My experience tells me this is NOT the case. Whilst the regulation’s imposed on Government’s, perhaps lack’s effective oversight , the CCC can’t initiate investigation’s, into complaints and conflicts of interest within the NFP sector.
    Government uses the NFP sector to change policy, lie and obfuscate outcomes.

  7. helvityni

    …there’s hope on the horizon: happy Scotty is calling for a National love-in….

  8. DrakeN

    helvityni – that sounds more like a threat than a promise!
    A love-in with any of the current members of government?
    Quelle horeur.

  9. divergent

    John Lord – “Despite all this, almost half of the electorate persist in voting for them” Because most voters don’t care about the big picture, just their patch. Our leaders rely upon the un-emphathetic nature of the electorate. We have polarising around issues on idealogical grounds, such as climate change and asylum seekers/immigration. But neither side really cares much about it. The ABC news breakfast hosted a climate change scientist recently who stated that if we don’t contain climate change, right now, then ensuing feedback will ensure a 5 degree climate shift which will result in mass extinction. She also stated controlling population was a key factor in controlling climate change. I guess when we get to the point of mass extinction people will start to care about who they vote for however it mightn’t matter by then.

  10. Diannaart

    Thank you, Kaye Lee, succinctly encapsulated report on our “political representatives”, who neither represent nor behave with grace or accountability.

    Instead, we the public, are ‘treated’ to a carnival merry go round of infants who cannot think beyond their greed.

  11. MikeW

    Surely all the God loving Christians in the coalition don’t believe in their faith, if they did they would realise that the fiery flames of hell are waiting for them.

  12. Ian Hughes

    Great article Kaye – thank you. Your articles are always ‘on point’ and I admire your writing style.

    Over at Independent Australia @AlanAustin001 has compiled a remarkable list of corruption of the Turnbull era starting in Nov 2015. We’re up to 113! Not pretty, but compelling reading.

    https://independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/coalition-corruption-turnbulls-tawdry-tenure-terminates,11865

    The next election can’t come soon enough for me. The current LNP mob are the most corrupt in my political memory, since 1972. It’s time to put ’em in the bin.

  13. Terence Mills

    So, the internal enquiry by the National party into allegations of sexual harassment by its former leader, after eight months of deliberation, and taking evidence were unable to make a determination.

    What more can you expect, they were never going to discipline Joyce or eject him from the party no matter how much evidence was placed before this mates enquiry.

    We have seen similar odd goings on with the Greens where persons associated with the party had been engaged in harassment and in one case alleged rape but nothing happened.

    It seems that these matters are forcefully swept under the carpet by political parties and as the alleged offences rarely reach a criminal standard warranting police intervention (although the alleged rape and lack of police reporting involving a Greens politician remains baffling) nothing seems to happen and every body is just supposed to move on.

    In the Joyce case it was on February 20, 2018, Catherine Marriott wrote a formal letter of complaint to the Federal Executive of the National party outlining an allegation of sexual harassment against Barnaby Joyce which it seems dated back some years.

    At the time she said “I want to stress that I never intended for this issue to become public. I requested that a formal and confidential investigation into this incident be undertaken by the National Party to ensure there is accountability in relation to the incident I raise, and to prevent this type of inappropriate behaviour towards women in the future.

    It seems that the national party thought otherwise and chose to leak her name to the media.

    Joyce, in the meantime, dismissed the complaint as “spurious and defamatory”.

    Ms Marriott had previously said that she had not yet referred the matter to police. “I will await the outcome of this [National party] investigation before determining any future action, or commenting further.

    Ms Marriott’s lawyer, Queensland-based Emma Salerno had previously said the National Party would be given the opportunity to “deal with it (the complaint) appropriately“.

    Clearly the National party are not going to deal with this matter and they probably expect that Ms Marriott will just back off. She said when the no outcome determination was reached :

    “the result of this investigation has underpinned what is wrong with the process and the absolute dire need for change. This outcome simply isn’t good enough”

    But will there be any change ?

  14. Kaye Lee

    Scott’s ascension proclamation:

    “The NEG is dead, long live reliability guarantee, long live default prices, long live backing new power generation”

  15. Kaye Lee

    “Trevor St Baker has backed the focus of new Federal Energy Minister Angus Taylor on preventing the surge onto the grid of new wind and solar farms from continuing to force up prices for energy users.”

    https://www.afr.com/business/energy/electricity/solar-influx-on-grid-mismanaged-trevor-st-baker-20180831-h14sle

    In November 2015, the NSW Liberal Government sold Delta Electricity, which at that time owned only the Vales Point Power Station, to Sunset Power International for $1 million. In 2017 it was valued at $730 million, and is expected to make energy entrepreneur Trevor St Baker a billionaire.

  16. paul walter

    Nauru was incredibly arrogant in its treatment of En Zeddder reporter. But I can’t believe they would have done what they did without at least covert encouragement from the Australian government.

    The whole incident has smacked of the vilest hubris.

    sydneysider 246, agree the government only has one choice and that is to go to the polls NOW.

  17. Terence Mills

    Kaye

    “long live default prices”

    This is the default pricing mechanism recommended by the ACCC and to be managed by the Australian Energy Regulator (AER). Effectively price regulation which, may have been a miss-step by Morrison as vested interests want the government to walk away from default pricing, this was one of the reasons why the NEG finally collapsed as Turnbull had embraced a national default pricing mechanism with penalties for those who exploited or breached the system.

    What do you think ?

  18. paul walter

    Without constitutional reform, all it shows is how weak the government is when captured by vested interests.

    How much more pathetic the pomposity of MP’s becomes when seen against the demarcation of their own powerlessness.

  19. Kaye Lee

    Terence,

    I heard a discussion on the matter which I can’t quite remember but they were saying that they could set a default price that companies agree to which then would discourage them from lowering the price. Wholesale prices are set to decrease, not sure how much longer we are obliged to keep paying the guaranteed profit on poles and wires we didn’t need, but those prices are coming down. My suspicion, based on how crap they are at negotiating contracts, is that we will once again lock into guaranteed profits for them. I want to know how that default price would be determined and how flexible it would be to changing conditions like falling costs for retailers..

  20. paul walter

    Pay the piper, call the tune.

  21. Kaye Lee

    That is my fear paul.

    But the call for truth-telling is getting louder.

    “What’s required is truth telling, out loud, with people listening, and with remedial action following. The government needs to acknowledge the underlying drivers of its own recurrent internal madness to have any hope of combatting it, and it needs to acknowledge what the Liberal party culture actually is, rather than what the official talking points profess it to be.”

    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/sep/08/the-meritocracy-myth-has-silenced-liberal-women-but-no-more

  22. paul walter

    Yes. A sickness and they seem not to want to be cured.

    You leave them to their strange little worlds, except that what they do so effects others including ourselves.

    There is another bad byelection result out for them from Wagga in NSW, with the sitting member ousted for either an indie or Labor candidate.

    They will retreat to their bunkers to fulminate and fantasize and the subsequent mistakes based on a perverse and wilful refusal of reality will ensure that mid next year, they will be ignominiously on their bikes after providing the rest of us with a full years entertainment.

  23. paul walter

    Baird limits her analysis to the conservative attitude toward women, but I believe that the attitude toward women is just another example of a rigid pathology that involves a whole collection of “others”, involving ethnicity, race, class, culture, and (non-Christian) religion.

    If Baird’s example does involve many”others” the rigidity will see them ousted, as occurred in 2007.

    Australia cannot afford the luxury of self indulgent politicians who do policy by prejudice rather than through reference to reality.

    https://www.canberratimes.com.au/national/the-only-question-i-have-for-liberal-men-in-denial-20180907-p502cs.html

  24. terence mills

    Kaye

    On default pricing, the ACCC said this in July :

    One of the most important recommendations [of the ACCC] is to move customers off excessively high ‘standing’ offers to a new standard ‘default’ offer to be independently set by the Australian Energy Regulator.

    Moving average residential customers who are still on the range of current ‘standing’ offers to the new ‘default’ offer could result in savings of $500 to $750 per annum (25-35 per cent). Similarly, small and medium businesses could save $1450-$2250 (30-35 per cent) per year by moving to a standard ‘default’ offer. Currently over 20 per cent of small businesses are on high ‘standing’ offers.

    https://www.accc.gov.au/media-release/accc-releases-blueprint-to-reduce-electricity-prices

  25. guest

    Kaye,

    I am using a line from your writing as a line of discussion which goes beyond direct reference to your subject matter. But I believe there is a connection. It is about the interview between Sarah Ferguson and Steve Bannon.

    You say: “You have no right to withhold information that allows us to make informed judgements.”

    I agree, but apparently there has been disagreement even inside the ABC. And there has been disagreement in the wider MSM as well. Some say the interview should not have happened at all, while others say it should not have happened because it was not done well.

    It is these nay-sayers I refer to. For them, anyone with whom they do not agree should not be given an interview They should be silenced. One critic has accused the ABC in particular of being “arrogant” and that Sarah Feguson was “manipulated”. So I suppose in that regard most of have been manipulated in some way by ideologues, advertisers, liars, cheats, etc. The writer, in an independent news outlet, describes the interview as an “auto erotic asphyxiation”.

    But to hide ourselves away in a remote place, or expel those we disagree with to far off exile, seems to be something akin to cowardice or censorship.

    So what does this critic do? Blames the interviewer for “minimal content and lacked vigor” and left Bannon’s “historical ideology relatively unchallenged”. Whereas others say Ferguson did challenge him. She said, at one stage, “Now it is my turn to ask a question”, which was subtle but telling.

    So what happened? Bannon took every opportunity to release a well-rehearsed spiel which swamped and smothered not only Ferguson but also, I imagine, most of the viewers – but not those who already know everything about Bannon’s ideology.

    I think it was good chance for many people to see what a right wing bully and racist Bannon is, attempting to use the media he hopes to destroy to further his own ambitions.

    We know what such people look like and how they sound. We have seen them before.

    That some of the media here in Oz sets out to criticise journalists who confront these bigots when they exercise their bigotry is very disappointing. It is a view which threatens to destroy independent media and aiding the Bannons of the world. I have not seen any thorough analysis of Bannon’s ideology by the writer I mentioned – certainly not in open discussion on television. Free speech, not allowed? Or too hard?

  26. Kaye Lee

    Yes Terence, I read that report and their recommendations. The discussion I am referring to was how that default price could be yet another problem. As I mentioned, wholesale prices are coming down. Would the default price keep changing to reflect that or might it be set at what quickly becomes too high a level that retailers just take advantage of.

    Without a lot more detail about how it would be set and then operate, (and you can bet the energy companies will have plenty to say about that), I am very wary.

  27. Terence Mills

    Kaye

    I see your point.

    I had anticipated that the AER would change the default price periodically to reflect the changing environment and reflecting the fact that wholesale prices will come down particularly as renewables take up a larger proportion of the overall supply.

  28. Kaye Lee

    guest,

    I am torn about that. I do not think those people should be given a public platform without challenge and I do not think Ferguson did that adequately. He just spoke over the top of her the whole time. I felt like I was listening to a tour promotion rather than an interrogation. We wrote a lot about Bannon and Breitbart when he turned up with Trump but, quite frankly, all he offered was propaganda and conspiracies with no substance worth discussing. The only interest was in his influence on Trump and that’s gone so why give a nobody free publicity. Just like Nigel Farage’s grand tour. Yawn. He’s got nothing of substance to say and no power. Surely there are conservatives who are slightly more erudite and have some standing than these two has-beens. It implies importance they don’t merit except as fleeting bit players.

    And there is the question of the harm they do by their deliberate disruption and stirring up of nationalism. If Farage has dinner with 11 people who are silly enough to cough up $1000, probably none. But when Bannon has our public broadcaster as a platform, complete with friendly “off-camera” banter that somehow made it on camera and a cutesy cuddly photo, then it legitimises him. Ferguson has done much much better interviews in my opinion. And allowing that attention-seeking Yiannopolous to speak in parliament house is just wrong. Hire the local hall if a few people want to go hear him.

    As CNN said “the media is giving a megaphone to a dangerous white nationalist of waning relevance. The idea that anyone can say anything they like, as long as it doesn’t cause harm to someone else, is unraveling in the age of online fake news, alternative facts, trolling and conspiracy theories. Steve Bannon has something to do with all those things.”

  29. Matters Not

    Re Bannon, am of the view that Ferguson should have done that interview. 4 Corners tends to be watched by those interested in the broad ideological forces at play – both home and abroad – including those that gave rise to Trump.

    While Bannon may be a blatherer, he is an influential (and complex) one. Lots of Gish Gallop (particularly under pressure) as Fergus demonstrated. My theory is – give them air and 4 Corners is an appropriate platform.

    Let’s face it. I don’t think that too many regular 4 Corners viewers (there’s not a lot in relative terms) didn’t have some prior knowledge of Bannon’s role in the election of Trump and how his administration behaves.

  30. paul walter

    I really don’t get why people are so keen to censor out controversial people.

    If their arguments are poor, the result is going to be obvious. Let them make mugs of themselves and then people move on.

    If hate speech is involved, off to court.

    No, I didn’t bother with Ferguson and Bannon, neither appeal to me and that derives from past experiences viewing them. It sounds like I made a good decision, same as if I ignored Alan Jones or ACA.

    You ban someone like Bannon, it becomes so much easier to ban someone like Chelsea Manning, who WOULD have interesting things to say.

  31. helvityni

    Yes Paul, I too wanted to see and hear Chelsea Manning, why can’t we be more like New Zealanders…

    At least the latest Newspoll makes me smile, and pretty good news from Wagga Wagga as well…

    Now I have to check what’s happening in Sweden…

  32. guest

    Kaye,

    Thank you for your measured response to my comments on Bannon.

    My main concern is: Who decides who is to be heard and who is to be banned?

    There are many people who say things which are not true and yet are said persistently with no shame. The talk about coal, is one. And Climate Change – false claims which have held up progress for decades just to maintain difference. The claim made public that unrepentant gay people will burn in hell is a terrible thing to say. Even children are abused with vile social media. A political party has a racist base because Oz is riddled with racism. We have had accusations of a “Black Armband” brand of history, yet there have been mapped over two hundred sites of massacres in Oz. Our detention of refugees on remote islands and the resultant deaths and trauma have been universally condemned, except by those without the imagination to do something better.

    It is a matter of dealing with the problematic claims and calling them for what they are. Sometimes the perpetrators are “hoist upon their own petard”. If CNN is correct about an age of fake on-line news, etc, and Bannon is involved in all of those, then Bannon must be put in the spotlight and revealed for what he is. He did that to some degree with his smothering blather against Ferguson. We need to use the “microphone” against them.

  33. paul walter

    Helvi, I see the right did not gain government in Sweden.

    Nonetheless, yet another example of globalization done badly and these things do not bode well for the future.

    guest: “who decides who is to be heard and who is to be banned?”

    It is true there are limited laws now in place to deal with hate speech. But it is a sad commentary on the times when someone like Bannon gets to be heard yet Manning is banned.

  34. helvityni

    Paul, I thank the Nordic Gods for that, it would have been too sad for me to say: et tu, Sweden…

    Some silly Farage is allowed to speak here, maybe Manning was not suitable, because she is ONLY a woman now…

  35. paul walter

    Manning is banned for telling the truth, the others let in because they lie.

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