Well, it seems we have a strange way of looking at things all of a sudden.
Imagine that you go to the police to report a person is accused of misappropriation of funds from your organisation and rather than investigate, the constable asks a few questions and asks you, “What’s the point of the investigation?”
You reply that you’d like to find out how it happened and make sure it doesn’t happen again, to which the constable tells you: “Yeah, but he doesn’t work there anymore. Aren’t you just being vindictive? I think you should get on with your life and not worry about the past!”
The whole Robodebt Royal Commission response is rather interesting if you take a step back. Okay, any investigation into Scott Morrison appointing himself into everything but the seat on the right hand of God, which he considered but found it was taken in a bigger example of nepotism than the Trump family. However, the idea that the Robodebt Royal Commission is all about revenge on Scott Morrison is one of those times that the media seem to be saying the quiet bit out loud.
I mean, how do we know that Scotty from Secrecy was the one behind it all? Couldn’t it have been another minister? Or a public servant who simply changed the process without a lot of fanfare, so that the various ministers didn’t notice?
Well, of course not, we all know it was the ex-PM’s brainchild. It was just never explicitly stated that this absurd and immoral way of calculating a potential debt was down to Morrison.
As far as the ridiculous idea that it was Labor that started matching tax data with Centrelink payments, it needs to be pointed out that there’s nothing wrong with that as a starting point, but it needs to be checked to make sure that it does, in fact, show a debt that should be repaid.
To use an analogy here:
- There is a police report that a person has gone missing and somebody was seen bundling a body into the boot of a white car.
- A patrol car pulls over a white car in the area and asks to check the boot. There is no body. The police takes some DNA samples. and ask a few questions and decide that there is no evidence linking them to the missing person. This is equivalent to what Labor did.
- Another patrol car pulls up a white car. The boot is checked. There is no body. The police then ask the driver if he can prove that there was never any body in the car. The driver asks how he can do that. The police decide that this isn’t good enough and jail the driver until he can prove he’s not guilty. This was the Liberal approach.
So whether this Royal Commission will sheet home a lot of the blame to Mr Morrison or be much more circumspect and look at the wider issues, I have to wonder about the pattern that we see emerging here. While Tony Abbott was happen to hold two Royal Commissions that were intended to embarrass Labor, including the one where he appointed the scrupulous unbiased Dyson Heydon*, since then there’s been a reluctance on the part of the government to hold them. We didn’t need one into the banks until they agreed that there should be one – possibly because they were worried that if Labor got into power they’d hold one with tougher terms of reference. We didn’t need one into child abuse until Victoria announced an inquiry, so it was obvious that whatever was discovered with that would make the refusal look bad.
And now, we don’t need to look at anything to do with what the previous government did, apparently.
Waleed Aly wanted to know what the point of an inquiry into Morrison’s appointments was because apparently, we all know everything we need to know, which is an argument I remember being raised about a whole range of inquiries where the inquirer found out more than anybody thought was there. One has to ask what the point of writing a whole article where one asks what the point is, when nobody will take any notice and cancel it?
Still, I guess it creates a talking point and talking points sell newspapers.
*If you don’t believe me, check it out. When challenged, he declared that he had no conflict of interest!
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