What does Dreyfus mean by “corruption”?

Shadow attorney-general Mark Dreyfus has an op-ed in the AFR talking about a proposed federal anti-corruption body.  I think reasonable people can disagree as the need for such a body – my second biggest concern is that I suspect there isn’t enough work for such an organisation. Not that the state based equivalents haven’t been busy, but I suspect that a lot of what ICAC, for example, does is make-work.

My biggest concern relates to what exactly constitutes corruption?

Dreyfus suggests some areas where we should be looking:

The potential for corruption at a federal level, and on a grand scale, is huge.

Just think of the size of tenders that are regularly doled out by federal government departments – $50 billion for submarines for example. A quick glance at AusTender shows there were 37 government contracts worth over $1 billion granted in the 2017-18 financial year.

Let’s be clear – the $50 billion spend on submarines is an absolute outrage.*  To my mind it was a politically inspired decision to provide an electoral advantage to politicians in South Australia. Okay – yet I suspect no anti-corruption body in Australia, or anywhere in the world, would summon politicians to answer charges on that spend and then rule that the spend was corrupt and recommend criminal charges be laid.

In any event that sort of thing is not best dealt with by the judiciary – the electorate are  best suited to handle that sort of thing.

So having read Dreyfus’ op-ed I’m in the position of thinking that he has a solution in search of a problem.   We already have laws that prohibit self-dealing and the like.

*At a state level we’ve seen the desalination plant here in Victoria and the $1 billion not to build a road. As far as I am aware, the Victorian anti-corruption body hasn’t investigated those issues either. The opposition hasn’t promised that people will be prosecuted and go to jail.

This entry was posted in Oppressive government, Rule of law, Tough on Crime, tough on criminals. Bookmark the permalink.

31 Responses to What does Dreyfus mean by “corruption”?

  1. He’s a shadowy attorney-general all right. That is for sure.

  2. Dianeh

    If the senate is a house of review, then isn’t there some sort of committee (bi partisan) that has the power to review things such as the tenders and other areas for potential corruoption, if they wished?

    Something like the US Senate Committee on Rules and Administrations, or Ethics.

    The Senators can earn their money. We don’t need another body funded by taxpayers to supply more jobs for the boys.

  3. Bruce

    “We don’t need another body funded by taxpayers to supply more jobs for the boys.”

    Hang on, that sounds a bit “Un-Australian”. This is still a country essentially “run” by the “heirs and successors” to the Rum Corps. Parasitism is a “valid life choice” here.

  4. Dr Fred Lenin

    I suppose if the commission investigated properly there would be plenty of work for them they could investigate the greens. The alp ,the unions the state politicians federal pollies ,local government pollies immigration partment ,and the lawtrade for a start . I am sure a huge investigation team would be needed for this job , possible even changing cell occupants from a single cell to a three prisoners . The commission could have plenary powers and the ability to confiscate family assets of convicted persons ,to defray y-the investigation costs and pa y for e additional bunks in the jails .
    I might even apply for a job on the commission ,chairperson would suit me on 500k plus expenses .

  5. .

    He’s going to prosecute his maaates at the big 4 accounting-social services analysis mobs or the union technical trades bruvvas?

    Not bloody likely.

  6. Bruce of Newcastle

    The potential for corruption at a federal level, and on a grand scale, is huge.

    He’s absolutely right.
    The corruption commission should have a camera in every politician’s office.
    Every word should be taped and reviewed, like Alexa, Google and the AFP do to us.
    Every expense claim checked, like our income tax returns.
    Their houses should be inspected every 6 months, like renters have done to them.
    Their phones should be removed from them on entering the House.
    All MPs should attend all parliamentary sessions.
    We have to attend our workplace sensitivity training and elf and safety sessions, why shouldn’t they have to sit through speeches?

    It’s oh so easy to anal probe someone else. Much less satisfying when it gets done to you.

  7. Percy Popinjay

    what exactly constitutes corruption?

    97% of the “activities” engaged in by the ALP and affiliated unions. It’s as good a starting point as any.

    What monumental hypocrites.

  8. rickw

    The potential for corruption at a federal level, and on a grand scale, is huge.

    Second only to this is corruption at a state level, only on a slightly less grand scale.

    The fundamental way to address this is to make government as small as possible and the government coffers as empty as possible.

  9. Myrddin Seren

    Dianeh

    If the senate is a house of review, then isn’t there some sort of committee (bi partisan) that has the power to review things such as the tenders and other areas for potential corruoption, if they wished?

    I think a Senate committee recently had the admiral running the Fantasy-French Submarine project up before it.

    He revealed that the mooted $50 bill cost was in constant dollars and by the time inflation kicks in, it would be more like $100 bill in actual cheques signed.

    Plus apparently that doesn’t include the combat systems or whole-of-life maintenance. Add another $50bill or so.

    Allow for the inevitable contract variations that always accompany Australian defence purchases.

    Plus keeping the Collins-class boats going for another 30-odd years to cover the likelihood that the NBN-Potemkin Class boats will be lucky to ever make it past the dry dock gates.

    Let’s call it $250 bill.

    Unfortunately this is two years after the contracts were agreed – so suck it up Australia.

    There seems to be no realistic check at any level of government on spending commitments once the responsible ministers have budget.

    Here is the Sydney Light Rail project – signed off by Our Glad when she was Transport Minister and carefully managed ( sarc ) now that she is Premier:

    Sydney CBD’s light rail disaster predicted by infrastructure chiefs six years ago

    Leaked documents reveal major doubts about Sydney light rail

    Surprise !! Suck it up Taxpayers – too late now.

    A review process is too late if nothing is done to rein in these squander monkeys before the fact. Which no politician wants to see happen because who doesn’t love showering other peoples’ money around like confetti ?

    And given the pathetic level of oversight – corruption cannot be ruled out, but good luck at trying to make a case. Has any ever emerged in to the light in the last 20 years or so ?

  10. jupes

    The potential for corruption at a federal level, and on a grand scale, is huge.

    The problem is that the fuckers have legalised it.

    I doubt that Dreyfuss intends to investigate TLS and her donating taxpayer funds to, then taking money from a branch of the Clinton Crime Foundation.

    Federal ICAC will be just another lawyer’s picnic and will cost far more than it gains from supposedly stopping corruption.

  11. 2dogs

    Large tenders should be awarded by plebiscite.

  12. Dianeh

    There seems to be no realistic check at any level of government on spending commitments once the responsible ministers have budget.

    I believe you right. How ever I also believe that a new anti corruption body would do no better and cost far more.

    We are stuffed.

  13. RobK

    We already haved an ombudsman, why not allow him to tackle initial complaints and refer to the Senate.

    Before he became Prime Minister in 1972, Gough Whitlam foreshadowed the appointment of an Ombudsman as a ‘guardian of the people’.

    The Ombudsman would investigate complaints from members of the public about unjust treatment by government departments and authorities and would report directly to Parliament.

    The Whitlam Government introduced the Ombudsman Bill into Commonwealth Parliament in 1975, but it lapsed with the double dissolution of both houses in November 1975.

    The Government headed by Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser reintroduced the Ombudsman Bill in June 1976, and in March 1977, the Prime Minister announced the appointment of Professor Jack Richardson as Commonwealth Ombudsman for a seven-year term.

    When announcing the appointment of the Ombudsman in the House of Representatives, Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser, said: ‘The establishment of the office is directed towards ensuring the departments and authorities are responsible, adaptive, and sensitive to the needs of citizens’.

    Since its establishment, the Ombudsman’s office has received hundreds of thousands of complaints, and made many reports and recommendations to improve public administration.

    ….from fed ombudsmans website
    Then there’s the auditor general. I dont think another layer will help.

  14. RobK

    I know the ombudsman cant investigate pollies, but perhaps he should.

  15. Dr Faustus

    So having read Dreyfus’ op-ed I’m in the position of thinking that he has a solution in search of a problem.

    I doubt this has much to do with ‘solutions’ or ‘problems’. Dreyfus/ALP is simply keen to develop another extra-parliamentary avenue for political hand-to-hand combat.

    Contentious program getting through Parliament (or obstructed) due to sweetheart deals with the Senate crossbench? Off to the Anti-Corruption Commission for an independent TMO decision.

    Dodgy Ministerial, or Departmental decision? Off to the Anti-Corruption Commission with you – and until a decision comes back, every question time becomes a pantomime of confected outrage about ‘this corrupt Government’.

    Need to thin out opposition to a Government’s program? Cite a few Opposition Members and tie them up in procedural bullshit – and until a decision comes back, every question time becomes a pantomime of confected outrage about ‘this corrupt Opposition’.

    These people hate us.

  16. Adelagado

    The most ‘corrupt’ decision in Australian history was the sighting of Canberra so close to Sydney and the subsequent centralizing of the federal public service that has benefitted NSW to the tune of tens of billions of dollars year after year. The submarine deal that will only marginally help SA is nothing compared to that giant scam.

  17. .

    The existence of Canberra or a Federal Government at all seems like a scam when you think it all the way through to the end.

  18. what exactly constitutes corruption?

    Funding “non-government” organizations that then make “political donations”.

  19. Robber Baron

    We don’t need a federal ICAC…we need a guillotine!

    Few federal politicians or bureaucrats will avoid its cold blade if l am in charge.

    Let’s party like its 1789.

  20. Baldrick

    I just want politicians to be held accountable for their actions not another Leftard filled quango to keep politicians honest.

    And no, getting voted out isn’t being held accountable.

  21. Neenee

    Let’s party like its 1789.

    The Reign of Terror (1793–1794) was a far more satisfying party.

  22. manalive

    Exposing political corruption ought to be the role of a free non-partisan media, if such a thing still exists in this country.

  23. EvilElvis

    NBN-Potemkin Class… Classic, haha!

    Let’s not kid ourselves about grand scale corruption. We can’t even run out the preschool level corruption at a local council level…

  24. Leo G

    …why shouldn’t they have to sit through speeches?

    Why shouldn’t they have to stand through speeches?

  25. Tel

    The fundamental way to address this is to make government as small as possible and the government coffers as empty as possible.

    One out of two ain’t bad.

  26. Hay Stockard

    That submarine scandal should be dealt with by law. Hang draw and quarter some of them. That ought to encourage the others.

  27. Snoopy

    Dreyfus? The scumbag that stiffed taxpayers almost $3K to take his family on a ski trip in 2013 wants a Federal anti-corruption body?

    Now that’s chutzpah.

  28. Ubique

    What body is to be charged with preventing corruption within the new federal anti-corruption organisation?

  29. Rob MW

    We already have laws that prohibit self-dealing and the like.

    That’s true Sinc, the Criminal Code – The Schedule – Chapter 30 ? – “The Proper Administration of Government” – but, and it’s a big but, Australia must have the most saintly public servants on planet earth because out of the hundreds of thousands public servants handling Commonwealth funds, contracts, nodding & winking at mates etc hardly anyone if anyone at all has ever been prosecuted let alone convicted of a crime under this chapter.

    God bless those honorable saintly public administrators and regulators.

  30. Zatara

    We already have laws that prohibit self-dealing and the like.

    What doesn’t exist is an entity with the will and the clout to enforce those laws.

    Particularly when the law breakers are senior members of that entity.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.