As sausages across Australia get ready for their big day out, voters face a stark choice — Scomo or Albo?
Whoever, the question will be: Coalition or Labor?
It is possible several Independents could be successful and deny either party unfettered control of the lower house. But ultimately, one of these men will guide, if not rule, the country for the next three years.
This Coalition Government is nearing the end of its third term and it is well past being on the nose. Its smell seeps through the whole of Australia.
It is costing us a fortune.
But a fourth term for this Government is not out of the question.
There might be a general feeling in some bubbles that Scomo is for the chop, but some other bubbles don’t share the vibe and would be more than happy to see a fourth term.
These bubbles made an enormous pop last time around.
Predictably, the Coalition will hit the fear button – think Tampa for a start – probably by beating up a war with China and, executed in league with News and to a significant degree, Nine-Fairfax, an awful lot of people will go for it.
Maybe enough people to pull off a four-peat.
Labor, on the other hand, are looking good. Up in the polls, shaking off potentially troubling issues, Albo getting a bit of traction.
From the bubble I am in, it appears Labor is going to win handsomely.
A change in government means a lot of corrupt noses are going to be out of joint, a lot of sweet deals kissed goodbye as the levers of power change hands.
But not all.
Some things are too deep. Some things cross party lines.
Labor’s real anti-corruption stance is yet to be tested.
Pre-election, it is talking a strong game regarding the establishment of an effective anti-corruption commission but how this pans out remains to be seen.
If a significant number of Independents supporting an ICAC get up, enough to cause a Labor government to negotiate, the odds favour the establishment of such a body. But not without a fight.
The proposed Labor model has holes that the Independents might be able to seal, but only if they have the numbers and the will.
The holes are in funding and oversight.
Labor has not addressed the issue of funding and there is no guarantee Labor won’t strangle any anti-corruption body the moment it gets in its way.
Perhaps the most important issue not addressed in the Labor package is the issue of funding. Time after time fearful (or vindictive) governments in Australia have attempted to strangle their own anti-corruption bodies. It has happened at both the state and federal level — most recently with cuts to the budget of the Auditor-General.
Punishment is served out when such bodies do their job and expose the faults of their governments.
Labor’s proposal also provides plenty of wriggle room when it comes to oversight of such a powerful body.
‘Labor is proposing to have the NACC overseen by a parliamentary committee. This doesn’t go far enough. The committee must not be, or be seen to be, a rubber stamp. It is important that such a committee should be chaired by an Opposition MP and that before any appointments to the NACC by the Government are confirmed, they should be supported by at least one Opposition or independent member of the committee.’
The clear message from this is that if too few pro-ICAC Independents get up to force Labor to change these get-out-of-gaol-free cards, then Labor’s currently proposed integrity model is the one we’ll get.
Excellent for the necessary task of bringing the past to account, maybe not so good for protecting the future.
Of the three possible House of Representatives outcomes – Coalition win, Labor win or a hung parliament with either major doing a deal with Independents – only the latter two might result in a proposal for some form of actual integrity commission, not the Coalition’s proposed joke which is designed to protect corrupt politicians and punish their enemies.
It will require a big swing to Independents, big enough for the balance of power, for them to have any real influence on the form of any integrity commission proposed by either major party.
That will be up to the Senate and that’s where Federal ICAC Now (FIN) comes in.
As Australia’s anti-corruption party, FIN will work to ensure any integrity commission is fit for purpose, not just now but for future generations.
Other senate parties might have a federal ICAC on their agenda, and FIN welcomes this. But only FIN has a suite of anti-corruption policies designed to clean up politics in a variety of ways, policies designed to stop corrupt behaviour in the first place.
FIN has nothing to trade, nothing for any quid pro quo.
If FIN gains senate representation it will be uncompromising in its efforts to stamp out political corruption.
This does not mean FIN cannot deal with other matters not related to corruption — the party platform sets out a clear decision-making process for all circumstances.
It just means we are serious.
If you hate corruption as much as we do, just look for the FIN above the line on your senate ballot paper.
Vote FIN for a cleaner Australia.
You can help us fight corruption by donating HERE.
Investigations editor Ross Jones is the national FIN convenor and NSW Senate candidate. Ross is also licensed private enquiry agent and the author of 'Ashbygate: The Plot to Destroy Australia's Speaker'. Follow Ross Jones on Twitter @RPZJones.
- Get your first look at new anti-corruption party FIN on Saturday 26 February
- FIN won't take sides in fighting corruption
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