Thursday, January 24, 2019

Australia's sham anti-corruption body

Before christmas I was pleased to hear that the Australian government was planning to establish a federal anti-corruption commission. But it turns out that it was all a sham:

A former judge of Victoria’s highest court has attacked the Coalition’s proposal for an anti-corruption body, describing it as a sham designed to shield politicians and public servants from scrutiny.

Stephen Charles, a retired Victorian court of appeal judge, said there was simply “no justification” for the Coalition’s proposal to limit the commission’s powers when investigating the public sector. He said the proposal to not allow public hearings for public-sector cases – as opposed to investigations of law enforcement – made no sense. Nor did the proposed body’s narrow remit, the high burdens of proof needed to initiate an investigation, its inability to take public tip-offs and its lack of resources.

“We see this body, the [Commonwealth Integrity Commission], insofar as public servants and parliamentarians are concerned, as a sham,” he told Guardian Australia. “It’s not really an anti-corruption commission at all.

“It’s a body set up to shield parliamentarians and public servants.

Why would politicians want to set up a body designed to shield themselves from prosecution? I think the answer to that is pretty obvious, isn't it. The real question is why Australian voters tolerate a nakedly corrupt political establishment, rather than throwing them out on their arses.