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Wear the bastards down – that’s what we have to do

Only our politicians could think of reasons why they in their personal conduct, their workplace and the political decisions they make, shouldn’t be investigated for suspected wrongdoing.

With that statement l inform you that a parliamentary committee made up of three conservative and two Labor MPs has, this week, rejected outright a code of conduct and establishing an independent parliamentary standards commissioner.

Movement on the proposed federal anti-corruption commission has been placed in quarantine. Earlier this year, the attorney general, Christian Porter, indicated that draft legislation had been ready for release but was delayed due to COVID-19.

How often will they use that excuse in the future?

The government has already missed several self-imposed deadlines to introduce its legislation. The model it has proposed has been widely criticised as weak as water and in need of a decent stir.

There are many and varied reasons as to why we need a Federal Integrity Commission. All in their own way demand your attention. Corruption stands out amongst them.

However, in this instance l put to you that just one wrongdoing justifies the establishment of a commission to keep the bastards honest. Of course, if you accept that it’s OK for our politicians to tell us lies, half-truths and lies by omission then you will obviously disagree.

Lying is not good under most circumstances, especially in the public domain. l have always maintained that the Australian public simply cannot expect good policy to start emanating from government until we begin to clean up the system itself. Bill Shorten committed Labor to do so but the Coalition came in late in the campaign and the voices in support were but a whisper. History shows that Labor lost and the LNP thus far has reneged on its promise.

I, like many other readers of this site, feel that for many years now the integrity of our politics has been gradually sold out by a bunch of corrupt politicians more intent on feathering their own nests than working for the people. We are sick to death of the travel rorts, the living away from home allowance, donation rorts, and ministers when they retire, walking into senior positions with companies in the same field.

Bill Shorten described:

“… restoring public confidence in Australia’s democratic system as “bigger than me versus Morrison, bigger than Labor versus Liberal” and crucial to winning back trust.”

“Because the most corrosive sentiment in democracies around the world is the idea that politicians are only in it for themselves.”

But if the commission doesn’t have authority similar to a Royal Commission, independence with broad jurisdiction, with all the investigative powers it requires and is without government interference then all will be in vain.

Why do we need a Federal Integrity Commission?

On Wednesday the Finance and Public Administration Legislation Committee released a report on a Greens reform proposal, which:

“… sought to establish a statutory, independently enforced code of conduct to govern the behaviour of parliamentarians.”

In its wisdom, the committee concluded that:

“Based on the evidence before it, this committee is not persuaded that the circumstances have now changed such that there is a strong argument for introducing a code.”

Lying, misinformation, lying by omission, subliminally implied suggestions, straightforward propaganda, deliberate scare-campaigning and any form of untruthful communication has become the norm in the way politicians and the media converse with the public. So normal and long applied has this form of conversation become that we are now unquestioning of it.

That’s why we need a Federal Integrity Commission.

My thought for the day

If we are to save our democracy we might begin by asking that at the very least our politicians should be transparent and tell the truth.

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25 comments

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  1. Baby Jewels

    So when you say “outright” does this mean Labor also voted against it, or that the Libs overrode them by numbers?

  2. Ken

    Australia needs to establish NOW a federal ICAC (Independent Commission Against Corruption)
    and make sure we do not have the other ICAC (I Can Accept Cash).

  3. New England Cocky

    Geez JL, you are such an eternal optimist, thinking that the Liarbral Nazional$ would ever allow themselves to be shackled by any mere federal ICAC. I mean, what would that do to the COALition philosophy about ”Borne to rule” and the Royal ”Never complain while you hold the reins and will get away with everything for which others would be jailed”?

    It would destroy the entire system of amoral politics that is an essential pre-requisite for joining either above party. Next you will be wanting politicians to ”fess up and resign in disgrace just for minor infringements of common business practice like selling the Sydney Harbour Bridge to tourists or an empty glass of water to government for a special bargain price of $80 million.

    Just think, if political parties could be held liable for election lies and failures to deliver an equitable distribution of taxation revenue through the building of public infrastructure, then, the Nazional$ politicians could not use the Anderson tactic of empty election promises to fix regional roads that are reneged upon immediately after re-election.

    Then at a personal level for politicians, amoral behaviour contrary to expressed party propaganda could reasonably be used to seek a Court ruling that the politician failed in his duty of care to provide the contracted standard of personal morality that was alleged before the election date. Think commercial false advertising.

    It is an interesting thought JL and perhaps you could infect the Parliamentarians in Canberra with such idealism ….. except Scummo Sacked from Marketing and his coven of crooks is presently holidaying at taxpayer’s expense away from Canberra because it is allegedly ”too dangerous” for politicians to congregate in Parliament House to hold the Hillsong Church congregation responsible for anything like the Ruby Princess.

  4. Denis Hay

    Neoliberalism is the basis of everything that is wrong in politics. It’s a cancer that is destroying Australia and people’s lives. Unless enough people take an active interest in politics and vote to bring about change I truly fear what’s to come for our children and grandchildren.

    Neoliberalism a Growing Cancer: https://youtu.be/oni19kPwso8

  5. Kaye Lee

    The Federal ICAC that has been discussed won’t stop the rot because pretty much every bit of skulduggery is “within the rules”.

    Gifting of jobs, rorting of expenses, contracts without tender, grants doled out for political purposes, support for the fossil fuel and gambling and alcohol industries – they are allowed to do all these things.

    If they get caught really rorting the system, they say administrative error. They deny information using commercial in confidence, national security, cabinet deliberations, or it would take too much time. If they are told by the court to release info, they spend hundreds of millions fighting it or just redact so much as to make it unintelligible.

    And neither of the two major parties are likely to take away any of this power from themselves.

  6. Terence Mills

    The Ruby Princess Special Commission of Inquiry is NSW has a rebuke for the prime minister who would not permit Commonwealth officers from ABF or the Department of Agriculture to appear or give evidence, even to the extent that the PM was prepared to contest the summons issued by the Inquiry in the High Court. As noted by the Commissioner this flies in the face of earlier pledges by the PM in the media to offer full co-operation to the Commission :

    1.53 The one fly in the ointment so far as assistance to this Commission goes, is the stance of the Commonwealth. I hasten to exclude the lawyers for the Commonwealth, whose written assistance and production of materials are very much appreciated, in the circumstances. Those circumstances are dominated by the assertion on the Commonwealth’s part of an immunity from any compulsory process of a State’s Special Commission of Inquiry. A Summons to a Commonwealth officer to attend and give evidence about the grant of pratique for the Ruby Princess was met with steps towards proceedings in the High Court of Australia. Quite how this met the Prime Minister’s early assurance of full co-operation with the Commission escapes me.

    This, in my view, typifies the attitude of this prime minister in many areas including the delayed federal ICAC.

  7. wam

    Hahaha well said, lord. even with your warped ‘truth’. Sadly independent is impossible when politiciand set the terms of reference ie gillard’s cash for pollies committee.
    You are not suggesting :Based on the evidence before it, this committee is not persuaded that the circumstances have now changed such that there is a strong argument for introducing a code.”” is not the truth, are you??
    To simpletons like me a web site with 227 pages showing the where, how long plus who with, why, and outcomes(with suitable redaction of the last 3) would suffice(with a bonus of confirmation of the difficulty of the job in relation to time with family)

  8. wam

    I realise I am the only leftie to question the motive behind booby’s caravan but after hearing shorten today, are there any greenies with a gut twinge about their contribution to not having this lovely caring man as the PM in this crisis???

  9. Phil Pryor

    People who are corrupt and lack integrity are in office now so how might we establish a commission to attack corruption and hopefully reinforce integrity? These right wing neoliberal, quasifascist filthites have been raised on doctine, driven by vanity, greed, acquisitiveness, ambition, posturing and prancing to pose, enriching themselves for the future in exclusive lucrative networking, operating only with insiders, all worse than secret societies, masonry, sworn religious speciality groups. Mates, co-conspirators, plotters, cliques, cabals, cadres, clubs (usually male only, but horrible enough females are acceptable) that is their way. We have ministers for abusing the old, attacking the vulnerable, ignoring needs, a minister for financial stupidity, a minister for gross ignorance, ministers in areas of intrusion, offence, interference, and, a P M or Piltdown Man of shocking shitskulled shambling showoffery to make the country weak, sick, humiliated, So what next, a commission to go back a thousand years or more and start again? Attack and out the known bastards…

  10. Keitha Granville

    Exactly wam, what the #$* were they thinking? We had a brief shining chance for a PM with an ounce of integrity, although I suspect he would have been nobbled by his own side eventually.

    Neither major party , and I dare to suggest none of the minors, is ever going to to support a proper sort of integrity body. It will take away the thing they all do with impunity and without which they can’t possibly function. Lies, untruths, half truths, non core promises, all of the tools in their arsenal with which they get elected and then stay in power without having to do anything.

    There can never be a true democracy until all politicians MUST tell the truth, MUST fulfill promises, MUST account for their failures the next election and be marked down for them, MUST be accountable to us at all times.

    I’m dreamin’…….

  11. John Boyd

    Baby Jewels….My recollection is that Labor switched to supporting a strong federal ICAC in the lead up to the 2019 election, but refused to support the weak model proposed by the government. Recently, Mr Albanese while acknowledging some embarrassment with some problems in NSW, supported a strong federal ICAC, saying something along the lines that if Labor gets caught up, so be it as that sort of behavior is unacceptable to the party. Part of earlier objections to the concept is the idea that just being called as a witness can damage one’s reputation.

  12. Ross

    Off course they won’t accept a federal ICAC, one with real with teeth that is, if they did a goodly proportion would end up in jail.

  13. leefe

    “Based on the evidence before it, this committee is not persuaded that the circumstances have now changed such that there is a strong argument for introducing a code.”

    In other words, we lie, we’ve always lied, and we are not going to stop lying. The general public having a problem with that is totally irrelevant. Ditto with corruption.

  14. Zathras

    If a Federal ICAC is ever established you can be sure that it won’t be retrospective in its considerations.

    In other words they can stuff their pockets as quickly and blatantly as they like in the assurance they won’t later be called to account, yet how often do they drag up “ancient history” when personally attacking their opponents?

    Perhaps we should also be going after those lobbyists who hand over the cash or favours as well.

  15. Matters Not

    Yes the Legislation governing a Federal ICAC will be where the rubber hits the road. A starting point might be the NSW model.

    The ICAC Act defines corruption, sets out the functions of the ICAC, describes referral responsibilities, constitutes and sets out the functions of the Committee on the ICAC and the Inspector of the ICAC, and makes provisions for referrals from and reports to Parliament

    Let’s be real. A Federal ICAC with ‘teeth’ will only come from a moment of weakness. Resulting from a political error of judgement. Forever to be regretted by both sides of the aisle.

  16. Michael Taylor

    MN, I’m being hounded to put a link on The AIMN’s Facebook page to an E Petition calling for a Federal ICAC.

    However, I don’t bother with petitions. I worked under LNP governments long enough to know that petitions go straight in the bin. They are a waste of time. When will people learn?

  17. ROY

    As always I wish you were wrong so that I could tell you in no uncertain terms John.But once again you have ferociously brought a heavy object and a small metal spike with a flat head into severe contact.
    JULIAN BURNSIDE for President.

  18. corvusboreus

    I have ranted and raved in favour of an effective federal ‘ICAC for over a decade.
    I have since completely given up on the idea, the controlling parties are never going to allow it to happen..
    The secret to political contentment is to know little and care less.

    Ps, the coalition will easily win the next election.

  19. wam

    good point crow my windmills:
    publishing the monthly diary, with security redaction, showing who, where, how long, and outcome of meetings –
    if your religion is involved in decision making it should be open to questions
    and for lord to understand being honest is needed because truth is belief and not yours
    that Albo and labor provides members with the arguments against the slogans, uses any means available to clean up their own clowns and getting us laughing at their clowns, he goes for the rorters by exciting the autocuists That will give him a chance but everything depends on xxxxx

  20. corvusboreus

    Anyways, FICAC, NIC, FIC or CIC, it’s all rancid roadkill dressed up as unicorn lunchmeat whilst people let parties rule our politics.
    Ted Mack who?

  21. DrakeN

    corvusboreus, most people have a need to be told what to do and how to behave and, at the same time, need the morale support of a group.

    Hence political Parties.

    …and fashion, religion, memes, trends, baristas, baby ‘showers’ et-bluddy-cetera.

    Sheeple.

    Most of the rest of us are autistic 😉

  22. corvusboreus

    DrakeN,
    Did you catch the game last nite?

  23. DrakeN

    corvusboreus,
    Which game would that be?
    I never watch sport; played a fair bit, but never watch.

  24. corvusboreus

    I meant the one where a bunch of roidbois in designer brands chased an Inflated bladder around a mowed paddock whilst some nearby drunken bystanders hurled tribalistic sledges.

  25. corvusboreus

    Enough of sport, back to politics.
    All you ICAC fans, you just keep pushing that lilole snowball up that bigole sand dune.
    You can count on my theorhetical moral support.
    Corvus out.

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