Canberra will not find corruption because it is desperate not to lead

Will the Prime Minister set up a watchdog that can investigate sports and parking lots? Or the use of a blind trust by a politician to receive “donations” from anonymous sources? Or someone who could force a minister to answer questions about how the media was tipped off about a secret police operation? In that case, several ministers as well as both the current and former Advocates General would be under a cloud.

Christian Porter – relegated to the back bench – still refuses to reveal or even try to find out who has given him huge amounts of money. Senator Cash rejected a request from Australian federal police to be interviewed about how and why her staff tipped friendly media about police raids on AWU in 2017.

Scott Morrison has tried to argue that the presumption of innocence has disappeared, while he has confidently completely rejected the possibility of guilt

The politicization of police work is in itself a serious matter. Text messages were deleted from her employees’ phones – which appears to have been manipulated with evidence. Not surprisingly, the inquiry was dropped, frustrated by the lack of evidence.

Will any of these examples be within the scope of a new federal NIC? If not, it will be a CRAP – a corruption regulator that avoids politicians.

Over the course of the week, Prime Minister Scott Morrison deftly argued that the decision to resign by former NSW Prime Minister Gladys Berejiklian shows why a national anti-corruption body should not have extensive powers.


Apparently the Prime Minister already knows what the NSW ICAC inquiry will find and he has prejudged the evidence which we have not yet heard and decided an innocent verdict for former Prime Minister Gladys. Together with his jubilant team in the media, he has tried to argue that the presumption of innocence has disappeared, while with confidence he has completely rejected the possibility of guilt.

There has also been criticism of the timing of the NSW ICAC study, which comes as it has happened in the midst of a public health emergency. Since it is not house style for ICAC to explain what is going on in an organization that, by its very nature, has to operate in secret, we can only speculate.

The Morrison government is under pressure to provide some form of federal investigative body.

The Morrison government is under pressure to provide some form of federal investigative body.Credit:Illustration: Matt Davidson

In that case, I would speculate that it might as well be argued that ICAC has postponed the performance of its statutory responsibilities and has already been waiting for many months for the emergency to be eased before resuming a formal investigation into what was revealed more than a year ago – that Ms Berejiklian made some very confusing decisions about public spending of millions of dollars that need to be examined forensic.

Whether those who hasten to acquit the former prime minister are better informed than those who hasten to judge her, we will eventually discover. “Sentence first, judgment afterwards” should stay inside Alice in Wonderland where it belongs.

In South Australia, SAICAC has had its powers and reach reduced this week, and in Victoria IBAC is exploring the interior of the state’s ALP with a timely series of hearings on lengthy allegations of branch stacking, first aired in this masthead for nearly 18 years. months ago.

Former minister and power broker Adem Somyurek knows enough dirty secrets about what has been done, when and to whom, to guarantee that he can cause security damage if he chooses.

There is also the possibility that the zombie saga of the CFA battle will be dug up from its shallow grave.

The state opposition claims that the mere suggestion that some actions of Prime Minister Daniel Andrews may be under control entitles him to “make a Gladys” and resign.

Which is equivalent to thinking that if you go into the hospital for exploratory surgery, you’re already dead. It is obvious that anti-corruption bodies are investigating governments – that is why they exist. Looking for corruption is not the same as finding corruption.

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Jon Faine is a regular columnist. He has worked on contract for the state government.

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