Angus Taylor, Rhodes Scholar, Energy Minister and alleged fraudster extraordinaire, will not be standing down from his Ministry. He will not face the possibility of criminal charges, be reprimanded or need to defend his questionable behaviour – or that of his Department – in any way whatsoever.
Despite his alleged lying and cheating to discredit Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore, there will be no consequences for Angus, since he will not even be investigated by the Australian Federal Police (AFP).
Some have been quick to accuse the AFP of political bias after its decision not to pursue Taylor over the Sydney City Council forgeries.
Because of this, many appear to have decided the AFP is a politically compromised outfit — one that operates primarily to pursue the political agenda of the government of the day.
The truth, however, is much worse. In the opinion of Independent Australia, the AFP has been a politically compromised operation since its inception in 1978. And as for supporting the government of the day, there is ample evidence it mostly sides with the conservative side of Federal politics, even on the rare occasions the reactionaries may be in opposition.
Now, this might seem to be rather a big call, but the evidence is huge and growing and appears to us to be insurmountable.
First, let’s just look at the evidence of recent years.
HIGH-LEVEL DAY TRIP
The most obvious rebuttal of the notion the AFP is even-handed and does not favour one side of politics or the other comes during the Prime Ministership of Julia Gillard, from 2010 to 2013. At huge expense, Gillard’s controversial speaker, Peter Slipper, was prosecuted by the AFP in 2014 over a day trip to a few Canberra wineries costing the taxpayer the princely sum of $949.
The investigation and prosecution cost tens of millions of dollars, only to be almost immediately overturned on appeal.
His accuser, James Ashby, who at the request of the Liberal Party and the Murdoch press, stole Slipper’s personal diary in order to frame him, was subject to a lazy three-year “investigation” by the AFP before they announced they weren’t really interested. (You can read all about this scandal in the Ashbygate book by Ross Jones, and through IA’s extensive coverage of the Ashbygate affair.}
Moving forward into the bleak Coalition years since 2013, the bias of the AFP has become even more starkly apparent.
It is perhaps no coincidence former PM Tony Abbott bunked down in the AFP’s Canberra barracks, while the Lodge was being renovated, during his first mad year in office. The fact that former AFP Commissioner Andrew Colvin and controversial Abbott and Morrison minister Stuart Robert were not only classmates at school, but were also in the Australian Defence Force Academy at exactly the same time, may also be relevant.
WHEN IS A CRIME A CRIME?
In terms of whistleblowers, the AFP has been eager to tromp their jackboots into the offices of the Labor Party, even in Parliament House, over alleged Labor leaks about the NBN. Into the offices of the Australian Workers Union (AWU), after alerting the media, over a politically motivated attack on Bill Shorten by Michaelia Cash. Into the offices of the ABC over Afghanistan war leaks. Even into the home of journalist Annika Smethurst, over plans to even further increase the powers of Australia’s spy agencies.
On the other hand, the AFP refused to execute any raids on the offices of Michaelia Cash over the leaking from her office of the AFP raids on the AWU or pursue any charges.
Now the AFP has decided not to investigate the Angus Taylor fraud because it says there was no evidence he ‘was involved in falsifying information’ and also,
... The low level of harm and the apology made by the [Minister] to the Lord Mayor of Sydney, along with the significant level of resources required to investigate were … factored into the decision not to pursue this matter.
THE REAL COST
Low harm and cost were never factored in when the AFP ruined the life of Peter Slipper.
In the end, the AFP is a part of the Dutton Ministry. Dutton himself is a former Queensland cop. The only solution is a Federal ICAC. Yesterday, the Coalition narrowly succeeded in preventing a Greens and Labor Party motion in the Lower House to establish a truly independent anti-corruption body.
When politicians vote against accountability, it is not difficult to deduce why.
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