Are you kidding?

Writing in today’s OZ, Jack the Insider suggests:

The sports rorts scandal was one of the most egregious and shameless examples of pork barrelling in Australian political history.

Jack.  Hello.  Are you on some sort of drugs?  The “sports rorts scandal” barely touches the sides.

What it does highlight is the administrative incompetence of Bridget McKenzie and the Ministerial advisors in Canberra, themselves hoping one day to splash other people’s cash.

Just because it follows process, does not mean it is not pork barreling.

Exhibit A – the SA submarines project which, being in the billions, more than dwarfs this $100m sports grants business.

How about parliamentarian expenses?  You know – organise a token meeting and take a trip to check on your investment property or to have a few days in the sun or to go to the footy.  Hey.  Why not take a helicopter to a party fund raiser.  Employ your wife and kids in your electoral office – no problem.

But it’s within the rules …..

The special incentives to Tasmania and South Australia?  Why did Brian Harradine get reelected and why does Jacqui Lambie get elected?  And Nick Xenonphoo?

The list of egregious and shameless examples of pork barreling in Australian political history is very long and will continue to grow.  It’s just that Brig and her staff were administratively incompetent and got caught.

We need to take the candy off the table and take away the punch bowl.

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35 Responses to Are you kidding?

  1. Neil

    I have not studied the sports rorts saga. Maybe there was rorting and maybe not. If their was use of taxpayers money for political gain it should be punished.

    But I did study the accusations of rorting against Howards Regional Partnerships Scheme in 2007.

    Coalition got 70% of the money. Guess what? They had 70% of the seats in Regional Australia. Auditor said this was OK but it got up the nose of the ALP that Coalition got 70% of the grants.

    What annoys me is that I no longer believe the media. I should not have to spend hours of research finding out media accusations are wrong

  2. candy

    It seems like it was money given for political gain in certain seats to clinch the election.

    I don’t think incompetence but a well thought-out strategy in advance on where to concentrate the gifts. PM Morrison and his advisors are clever and a bit untruthful/brushing off questions and not divulging information about stuff, but in retrospect probably like John Howard’s day. PM Morrison seems to mould himself on John Howard.

  3. Neil

    It seems like it was money given for political gain in certain seats to clinch the election.

    Yes according to the media. But if so would it make any difference? Politics is tribal. Whatever a political party does in an electorate makes no difference to how most people vote.

    I have not studied the current rorts saga. But based on the study I did on Howards Regional Partnerships Scheme I suspect what the media is saying about the current rorts.

    It is sad that when you read a article in a newspaper you cannot trust what is said

  4. a happy little debunker

    Graham Richardson is quite open that he himself rorted in exactly the same way that both McKenzie & Roz Kelly did.

    The trick with rorting & pork barrelling is to not get caught.

  5. FelixKruell

    This kind of things is done by both sides of politics, and has been for decades. It’s usually just less obvious (no spreadsheets).

    We have the great example here in Victoria of level crossing removals – all the really crucial ones in safe seats were ignored, and pushed down the priority list.

    I’d much prefer neither side engaged in it – but it’s very hypocritical of either side to attack the other on this point.

  6. Neil

    The trick with rorting & pork barrelling is to not get caught.

    And that is one difference between the Coalition and Labor. The ALP knows how to rort without being caught. The Coalition does not have the deceit of the ALP.

    But did McKenzie rort? Most probably. But like I said I have not studied it and the Coalition does not have the people who can spend hours studying the saga to find out the truth because most Coalition voters have a job and also are not as political evangelical as ALP voters

  7. Bruce of Newcastle

    The sports rorts scandal was one of the most egregious and shameless examples of pork barrelling in Australian political history.

    Golly. How bad would it’ve been if Ms McKenzie had used a great big whiteboard?
    We should ask Ros Kelly.

    Sports rorts affair

    That’s the trouble with Libs. They can’t even be original with rorting.

  8. Bruce of Newcastle

    Oops, I forgot, she’s a Nat.
    Deputy sheriff not Boss Hogg.

  9. Terry

    “We need to take the candy off the table and take away the punch bowl.”

    Absolutely. This degenerative cycle of over-taxing, clipping the ticket (for “administration” expenses) and then redistributing some of that over-taxation to “worthy” groups in exchange for votes and undeserved kudos, has to stop. It is a cesspit ripe for breeding corruption at all levels in our society (a Kleptocracy).

    Politicians cannot be trusted to distribute funds fairly, so wherever possible, don’t give them control of the funds. An economy keeping more of their own income and wealth has greater means to support themselves and the various community groups that THEY (and not “officials”) deem to be worthy of such support, and in the quantum they choose.

    Pork-barrelling is not an essential function of government (at any level) and not even a desirable one.

    “How about parliamentarian expenses?”
    Indeed. I would like to see the (perhaps a little radical) approach of handing over a fixed sum to an elected parliamentarian to operate the duties of their electorate for the term of a parliament (like a small business)

    From that fixed sum, they would have to cover all of their expenses, including staff (salaries and “Super”), travel, office costs, insurances, communications and any other “entitlements” they think they’re due. Their “salary” would be determined by how much was “left-over”. Their “profit” if you like. If they were frugal enough, they could even keep the whole lot if they wanted (subject to facing the judgement of the electorate at the next election).

    Three major benefits.
    1. Transparency: We could quickly determine what the “cost of democracy” actually is;
    2. Efficiency: No squabbling over “entitlements” – use, misuse, abuse or otherwise; and
    3. Education / Experience: We would all be better off if our representatives (far too often sheltered Lawyers and/or Union Hacks) got a clue about operating small businesses and were also subject to regulations they impose (mostly without care or thought about consequences).

  10. Neil

    Politicians cannot be trusted to distribute funds fairly, so wherever possible, don’t give them control of the funds.

    Yeah lets let the Public Service run everything and have the elected politicians do nothing?

    Brendan Nelson when Defence Minister went against PS advice and ordered the Super Hornets. Just look at the abuse from LABOR he got in 2007 for doing that. Now everybody is saying what a great buy they were

    Apparently McKenzie turned down a roller derby/skate ring or something in a safe National party seat which got 90% approval from the PS. And approved change rooms for women in some other electorate.

  11. Terry

    @ Neil

    “Yeah lets let the Public Service run everything and have the elected politicians do nothing?”

    Um, no. “…don’t give them control of the funds.” means don’t allow them to collect as much through over-taxation in the first place. Bureaucrats are no better at spending other peoples’ money than politicians.

  12. Terry

    “roller derby/skate ring” and “change rooms for women” ,if they are to be publically funded, would seem to be more appropriately done so through local councils, which are instruments of State Governments.

    Which Federal electorates they are in is totally irrelevant if the Federal government has no role in dolling at cash for votes.

    What purpose does the Federal government have in being involved in this kind of thing at all? Totally beyond their mandate.

  13. Pyrmonter

    Tasmania and South Australia are entitled to wonder at spending and restrictions that favour other states. How much might Tasmania gain by deregulation of the coastal trade, allowing foreign competition? South Australia from the levels of recurrent defence expenditure laid out in Perth, Sydney and Townsville?

  14. Neil

    Bureaucrats are no better at spending other peoples’ money than politicians.

    But you said Public Servants should be trusted and politicians cannot be trusted.

    In our system politicians have the final say for better or worse.

    During the GFC Swan bent over and did what Treasury (wombat whisperer) said. If Costello was Treasurer he would have said stimulus was a waste of money and told then to get stuffed.

  15. Beachcomber

    “We need to take the candy off the table and take away the punch bowl.”

    Exactly. The government has no constitutional right or authority to dole out “indulgences” to community groups. As long as it continues, it will be rorted. That is human nature and the nature of government.

    The occasional scandal and Ministerial resignation will not change anything. The whole stinking concept of government spending in these areas needs to be challenged in the High Court. Imagine if they were declared non-constitutional. Whole sections of Commonwealth Bureaucracy could be de-funded and shut down!

  16. Terry

    @Neil
    “But you said Public Servants should be trusted…”
    Um, no. You made that up.
    Never said nor implied that. At all. Ever.

  17. Neil

    The whole stinking concept of government spending in these areas needs to be challenged in the High Court

    Why? You want the Public Service to hand out the money? I would be interested to find out what advice the PS gave about the French submarines. PS service do not purchase the Super Hornets. But in 2007 Brendan nelson ordered them anyway

    The govt runs the PS otherwise just get rid of the govt and let the PS run the country.

    If Costello was in power during the GFC there is no way we would have had stimulus spending on pink batts and school assembly halls

  18. mh

    The sports rorts scandal was one of the most egregious and shameless examples of pork barrelling in Australian political history.

    Funds for local sporting clubs or

    $50,000,00o,000 to save Christopher Pyne’s seat of Sturt

    Hmm, that’s a tricky one 🤔

  19. Neil

    Um, no. You made that up.
    Never said nor implied that. At all. Ever.

    You said this.

    Politicians cannot be trusted to distribute funds fairly, so wherever possible, don’t give them control of the funds

    So obviously you want Public Servants either Federal, State, or Local govt to be in control of everything because elected Federal. State and Local govt politicians cannot be trusted

  20. Squirrel

    The Constitutional guarantee of equal Senate representation for the six original States, regardless of population, means that taxpayer funds always have, and always will be distributed in a somewhat less than objective manner.

    Add to that the break down of voter loyalty to a particular party – with the result of many more swinging seats than in earlier times – and you’ve got the recipe for a lot of geographically targeted vote-buying activity (in addition to all the demographically targeted vote-buying).

  21. Terry

    “So obviously you want Public Servants either Federal, State, or Local govt to be in control of everything because elected Federal. State and Local govt politicians cannot be trusted”

    To assist with your comprehension (or lack thereof), “Politicians cannot be trusted to distribute funds fairly, so wherever possible, don’t give them control of the funds” means…

    “don’t give them control of the funds”, as in, don’t allow them to collect it as tax in the first place.

    It DOES NOT mean, hand those funds to public servants instead – that is not an improvement.

    To be even clearer, the “wherever possible” part is to acknowledge that some taxation is necessary (the bare minimum) and yes, politicians and not bureaucrats should be in control of and accountable for the expenditure of those funds, since it is they who are elected for that purpose and not public servants.

    In any case. No matter how you (mis)interpreted it, at no stage did I say “Public Servants should be trusted…” Again, just made it up.

  22. Neil

    Don’t allow them to collect it as tax? So you want no taxation?

    And you did say Politicians are not to be trusted. I agree. But that is our system.

    How I wish Costello was in control during the GFC. Swan increased govt spending by a massive 12% in 2009. Triple what is normal and the budget has never recovered

  23. Shy Ted

    Don’t worry, ScoMo’s onto it.

  24. Boambee John

    Beachcomber

    The whole stinking concept of government spending in these areas needs to be challenged in the High Court. Imagine if they were declared non-constitutional. Whole sections of Commonwealth Bureaucracy could be de-funded and shut down!

    It was, in relation to funding school,chaplains, and found to be en-Constitutional. Implicitly, so were a lot of other Commonwealth grants programs.

    In a rare (sarc) display of political unanimity, both parties supported legislation to re-fund the lot!

  25. Boambee John

    Un-Constitutional even.

  26. Neil

    So what Federal govt spending is Constitutional?

    But what is illegal in what McKenzie did? I do not have time to study the allegations

  27. Terry

    @ Neil
    “Don’t allow them to collect it as tax?”

    Already answered that. To repeat: “To be even clearer, the “wherever possible” part is to acknowledge that some taxation is necessary (the bare minimum)…”

    I also said “politicians and not bureaucrats should be in control of and accountable for the expenditure of those funds”

    “And you did say Politicians are not to be trusted” Yes. And I stand by that comment 100%. That, however, is not the same as “But you said Public Servants should be trusted…” No, I never said that nor did I imply it.

    We can agree on Peter Costello though. An excellent treasurer and a real loss to our parliament. We are all poorer (quite literally) due to his premature (IMO) departure from public office. Especially when considering what has been served up as replacements since.

  28. Neil

    You said this at 5.13PM

    Politicians cannot be trusted to distribute funds fairly, so wherever possible, don’t give them control of the funds

    Please explain?

  29. Terry

    From:
    Terry
    #3321474, posted on February 12, 2020 at 7:50 pm

    “some taxation is necessary (the bare minimum)”

    Simply means, let politicians only collect just enough tax to handle the essentials.

    Do not let them collect tax that allows them to be tempted to (mis)spend on areas outside their mandate (like sports grants) or a myriad of other quangos that have been allowed to spawn and metastasise over the past several decades.

  30. Neil

    You are all over the place. What do you actually believe?

    You said this

    Politicians cannot be trusted to distribute funds fairly, so wherever possible, don’t give them control of the funds

    In our form of govt politicians have been given power over the funds. Sounds like you want a knew form of govt. What is the new form you propose?

  31. Terry

    I think any explanation is producing diminishing returns.

    Maybe re-read, slowly. You might be more successful at the second attempt.

  32. Beachcomber

    Boambee John at 8:52 pm

    In a rare (sarc) display of political unanimity, both parties supported legislation to re-fund the lot!

    OK. Yes, the UniParty knows when to stick together. The Constitution is becoming increasingly irrelevant.

  33. Tim Neilson

    Terry
    #3321731, posted on February 12, 2020 at 11:29 pm

    You’ve been very patient.

    This is the modern world in which we live – there are people who simply can’t comprehend the idea of letting people keep their own money.

  34. Neil

    This is the modern world in which we live – there are people who simply can’t comprehend the idea of letting people keep their own money

    I get that. But I thought he was saying don’t let the politicians have control of the money but let the bureaucrats spend it. I misunderstood.

  35. Perth Trader

    Bridget was locked and loaded but did’nt have the balls to tuff it out.

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