Today is International Anti-Corruption Day.
With the Federal Government still facing a wide variety of corruption claims, there is still societal pressure for them to introduce an Anti-Corruption Commission, akin to the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC).
However, it has been made very clear that the Morrison Government does not want to introduce such an integrity body.
While others were right to condemn him for this very silly claim from a very silly candidate, it does leave Australia in a very poor position. There are still questions about the behaviour of Angus Taylor, from his role in Watergate, in Grassgate, and in the doctored documents scandal about Sydney mayor Clover Moore. He has also been involved in the vast sum of money paid for land for Western Sydney Airport.
The current model proposed by the Coalition for the Commonwealth Integrity Commission would not cover any of the existing scandals. That includes:
- The Helloworld scandal involving Joe Hockey and Mathias Cormann;
- The Parakeelia scandal;
- The funding for Paladin;
- The Nimrod Resources funding for Stuart Roberts;
- Car parks for marginal seats;
- Pork barreling for community sports;
- Community Development Grants Program funding as a slush fund;
- Urban Congestion Fund spending;
- Female Facilities and Water Safety funding being spent on facilities for men;
- Safer Communities funding spent elsewhere;
- Great Barrier Reef Foundation grant;
- Former Coalition politicians appointed to AAT, boards and roles;
- COVID-19 vaccines contracts directed to LNP donors;
- Political research funded by taxpayers;
- Travel expenses to the Murdoch Christmas party, a Channel 9 fundraiser, the Melbourne Cup, an Adelaide fundraiser, a polo event, the Gold Coast to purchase an investment property, the use of a helicopter to attend a fundraiser, the AFL Grand Final, a farewell party, and the Philippines, among others;
- Receipt of government contracts while an MP;
- Bushfire disaster fund pork barreling;
- Expenses for the internet, new offices;
- The Australia Post/Christine Holgate scandal;
- The au pairs controversy around Peter Dutton; and
- Barnaby Joyce and his drought envoy role.
This is not an exhaustive list – I am sure that I, among others, have missed content. Obviously, the issue around Christian Porter and the Legal Services Trust is another example of something worthy of investigation. While some Coalition MPs may be tired of having to defend Christian Porter, the reality is that the Coalition does not want to go looking for corruption. Its thin margin on the government benches means that it has focused on electioneering, rather than policy.
The unwillingness to bring forward such an agency should not be taken for granted, and could restore some much needed trust in public service. Satirical news outlet The Betoota Advocate summarized the mood around the trust in politicians in the current age in Australia.
The general dislike for politicians these days is underpinned by the Coalition’s lack of transparency. It could be at the center of the ALP’s election campaign – they just need to point to all these scandals, along with the Coalition’s problems around women, the environment, worker’s rights and welfare.
What do you think? Have I missed any scandals? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!