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The Australian Government — working for everyone except you

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Some of this week's biggest political losers, Michaelia Cash, Michael Keenan and Michael Pezzullo (Images via Wikimedia Commons)

Our Government is no stranger to corruption and error, the past week being no different. Noely Neate highlights some examples.

IF YOU ARE ON TWITTER, you have been keeping an eye on Senate Estimates and it has been a doozy. Prior to them, many were already calling for the Government just to give up while they are behind, but estimates has shown not only should they give up, but should never ever be within a “cooee” of setting up any sort of Federal ICAC.

I do not have enough time nor words available in this piece to include all the dodgy stuff that has been revealed in the past seven days alone. No wonder interim PM Morrison is skipping going to work — every minute they are in Canberra, more crap is uncovered.

Now, keep these two very important points in mind as we attempt to list the questionable – some would say corrupt – revelations from estimates alone:

  1. The Government makes laws. As @iMusing has stated so succinctly: ‘They make the law. It is literally their day job’.
  2. If you had a dollar for every department head or bureaucrat who said “I will take this on notice”, which all too often was a euphemism for “I really don’t want to answer that question”, you would not be needing franking credit tax welfare to have a nice retirement.

My top dodgy Government revelations are as follows – only a few, as too many to list – but feel free to add your dodgy estimate highlights in the comments below:

Michaelia Cash and Michael Keenan not being interviewed by AFP — twice

Just imagine you or me saying to cops, “Yeah, nah, don’t feel like giving you a statement, might send you a note later if I feel like it”.

Seriously, this is the situation we have here, not to mention the Australian Federal Police has also said there may have been destroyed evidence in relation to AWU raids. Yet they still didn’t lay any charges. Reminder: it is illegal to leak details of an AFP raid.

As a side note, I am happy to be proven wrong, but consider the number of times there have been referrals to AFP in relation to Government MPs/Senators and departments over the past five or more years, yet not one has been referred to charging. That just defies the law of averages and I have to say, having no faith in the AFP and their priority being “us” – Australians – not their legal masters, it's no longer just a conspiracy theory. Their “form” in recent years is kind of showing that to be a fact, which I find rather depressing.

Speaking of those who are we are supposed to have faith in protecting us…

Hakeem Al-Araibi spent months in a Thai jail because of an Australian Border Force (ABF) error

We had Border Force, AFP and the Department of Home Affairs all rattling off “processes broke down”, and “gaps in handling”. In the meantime, a young man was not only put in a horrific situation but almost faced being sent back to a nation where there was a good chance we would never have heard from him again. Even with an “error” as glaring as this, Home Affairs, the mega-department that runs all these organisations involved, refused to accept any responsibility. Neither the head of Home Affairs, Secretary Michael Pezzullo or the minister who runs this mega-department, Peter Dutton.

Speaking of these two blokes, after all the squealing of: “If we show compassion to asylum seekers on Manus or Nauru, alleged murderers, rapists and paedophiles could come to Australia”.

Home Affairs confirms investigation into visa corruption claim

Yes, this department who is supposed to keep us safe from those scary asylum seekers on Manus and Nauru (insert massive eye-roll here) could be selling visas for cash. I wonder if some of those are the ‘18,290 air arrivals seeking asylum in 2016-17 and 27,931 in 2017-18’.

And we are not finished with Mr Pezzullo and Mr Dutton yet as we get to Paladin.

$423m to Paladin, which had its HQ in a beach shack on Kangaroo Island to provide security for just under 600 people on Manus

It would take a thousand words alone to work out this dodginess; it is like the script of a B-grade thriller. For all we know, in the future, we might be seeing it as a mini-series. We have shadowy mercenaries, hidden headquarters, third-world nation politicians potentially on the take, Government department “advancing” money to a firm, no open tender and potentially criminal behaviour.

But hey, It’s all good, nothing to see here, totally legit — just ask Mr Pezzullo and Mr Dutton. This one is just totally out of the park and a spider web which would make a golden orb proud.

Mathias Cormann forgets not being charged for family holiday — how nice are those Government contracts, Helloworld?

Look, we have all been there. A mate pays for a holiday and you don't notice your credit card hadn’t been charged. Don’t we all just get on the blower to an ASX-listed company and expect the CEO to book our holiday travel for us? Not exactly.

It's bad enough that a Finance Minister thinks doing a deal with mates is legit behaviour, but the “game of mates” gets even murkier when you toss in Joe Hockey – another former finance type, being Treasurer until he got the sweet U.S. gig – who just happens to be a big shareholder in Helloworld and they just happen to get some massive Government contracts.

More than 2,030 people died after receiving a Centrelink debt notice

Over 2,000 people. How is this not front page news?

Yes, not all would be as a direct consequence of getting harassed by Centrelink, but:

‘663 people were classified as “vulnerable”, which means they had complex needs like mental illness, drug use or were victims of domestic violence.’

 

‘Of those, 429 – roughly one-fifth – were aged under 35. The figures cover a period from July 2016 to October 2018.’

There's no way in hell the pressure of this – in my opinion – Government phishing exercise didn't contribute to the death of some of the most vulnerable people in this nation.

Imagine if a business started sending out massive, official debt notices to a bunch of pensioners in aged care homes, telling them onus was on them to prove they didn’t owe and constant harassment if you could not prove otherwise. Then, because maybe you can’t, they garnishee the poor amount of money you barely survive on already to feed yourself.

The papers would be screaming: ‘Where is Fair Trading, where is ASIC, how is this business allowed to operate? It is criminal.’ But what are we hearing when it comes to those living below the poverty line in our nation, subject to this behaviour from our very own Government? Nothing.

It's not just those offshore on Manus and Nauru that are being treated this way, but also our own.

What I have listed above just touches on a few lowlights we have discovered about our Government this week. Feel free to add your particular lowlights below.

Read more from Noely Neate on her blog YaThink?, or follow her on Twitter @YaThinkN.

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