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Another day, another rort: The case for a Federal ICAC Now!

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Energy Minister Taylor, Prime Minister Morrison and former Sports Minister Bridget McKenzie have all featured in various scandals including "Watergate", Grassgate" and the "Sports Rorts" fiasco (Screenshots via YouTube)

 

All up, an overwhelming case for a national integrity and corruption commission, with real teeth.
~ Dr John Hewson

Last week, the Sydney Morning Herald ran an opinion piece by former Liberal Leader and now Australian National University professor, Dr John Hewson.

In it, Hewson stated:

'...the Morrison Government has avoided accountability for the sports rorts and other slush fund excesses.'

Then, after a tour of other corrupt Coalition fiascos, Hewson concluded:

'All up, an overwhelming case for a national integrity and corruption commission, with real teeth.'

 

Hewson seems like a nice enough chap. He got oh-so-close to the prime ministerial prize but fell face forward on his birthday cake just as the finish line loomed. That was because he fluffed the detail. He had a pretty good grasp of the big picture, though.

And he still does.

Political corruption is a real and growing problem in Australia. The new billions in pandemic cash washing through the system will turbocharge an already massive gravy train at the expense of proper governance. It will pervert outcomes and cripple economic performance.

Think Caymans, think pretty much every major government contract:

'The government is also attempting to stop the Auditor-General providing evidence that was critical of their $1.3 billion deal to purchase a new combat vehicle from arms manufacturer Thales, some two years after having used extraordinary powers to redact aspects following complaints from an “aggrieved” Thales.'

This stuff first aired back in 2018.

On 13 June 2020, The Guardian reported:

'Coalition trying to stop auditor general giving evidence on report critical of arms deal
Move comes after government used extraordinary powers to suppress findings of report on $1.3 billion purchase.'

Add suspension of Parliament to the sidelining of the auditor general and you have completely unaccountable government.

A recipe for corruption on a truly grand scale.

 

The Morrison Government is about to spend another $270 billion on defence over the next ten years — that’s $27 billion a year with no accountability.

This – and other billions – is why it is important to join Federal ICAC Now (FIN).

Integrity is not everything it seems.

Despite what many would like the word to mean, despite what Google says it means, what the Oxford Dictionary says it means:

​1. the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles

  • personal/professional/artistic integrity
  • She behaved with absolute integrity.
  • a man of great integrity

2. (formal) the state of being whole and not dividedSYNONYM unity

  • to respect the territorial integrity of the nation

This definition is all about character and the soundness of moral principle. These are matters of opinion and can be argued by any politician in any way they choose. Being of poor character is not in itself illegal.

Including the word "integrity" in a national integrity and corruption commission invites a very big loophole, big enough for wriggle room.

It is an important detail and, as Hewson knows, details count.

The Coalition won’t countenance even a wriggle-room integrity commission.

We know why.

FIN’s SSL-secure website, federalicacnow.org, provides more information on this collective effort to bring meaningful scrutiny to politicians’ behaviour. It also makes it easy to join at no cost to inaugural members. 
Join FIN now and help us bring the corrupt to account.

Investigations editor Ross Jones is a licensed private enquiry agent and the author of 'Ashbygate: The Plot to Destroy Australia's Speaker'. You can follow Ross on Twitter @RPZJones.

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