Cuts to the ANAO and ICAC in NSW make governments less accountable and more capable of decisions that go against the public good, writes Sue Arnold.Cuts to auditing and corruption agencies hurt democracy and environment
Scott Morrison played on the general ignorance, as regards politics, of many members of the public, when he performed a one-man-band election campaign in 2019. A closer inspection of his message would have revealed no policy promises, except for cutting taxes. For the unthinking, that sounds like a good idea.Without transparency, corruption flourishes – » The Australian Independent Media Network
Convenience store chain 7-Eleven has paid back $173 million to more than 4000 victims of endemic wage theft at its franchise network, but former Australian Competition and Consumer Commission boss Allan Fels said that amount represented only a fraction of the chain’s unpaid wages.Allan Fels says 7-Eleven’s $173m wage theft bill should have been higher
The arms company at the centre of a deadly criminal saga and numerous global corruption scandals, Naval Group, was selected by the Australian government to build our new fleet of submarines – a deal heralded as ‘one of the world’s most lucrative defence contracts‘. How did this happen? In this special investigation Michelle Fahy discovers significant gaps in anti-bribery and corruption measures on this massive procurement project. The message communicated far and wide is that our standards are lax; grey areas are tolerated; and we’ll bend the rules and look the other way.Murder, corruption, bombings – the company at centre of Australia’s submarine deal – Michael West
In fact, throughout his first—and, hopefully, only—term in office, Trump has turned the presidency into a huge swamp, rife with corruption.King of the Swamp – Progressive.org
The administration calls Moncef Slaoui, who leads its vaccine race, a “contractor” to sidestep rules against personally profiting from government positions. Slaoui owns $10 million in stock of a company working with his team to develop a vaccine.Trump’s Vaccine Czar Refuses To Give Up Stock In Related Drug Company | Crooks and Liars
“A Trump stooge with a history of racist statements and no medical background is doctoring CDC reports warning Americans on Covid because they make Trump look bad.”‘Downright Criminal’: Leaked Emails Reveal Effort by Trump Aides to Censor and Alter CDC Covid Reports Behind Closed Doors | Common Dreams News
Trump is the Swamp. He’s Quick Sand (ODT)
That is the big picture that we have to keep in mind because, as we approach the November election, we’re getting into extremely dangerous territory when a sitting president is willing to corrupt the entire federal bureaucracy to assist him in getting reelected.Trump Is Corrupting the Entire Federal Government to Help His Reelection | Washington Monthly
Coronavirus-panic sweeps the nation. There’s barely a bottle of Dettol hand sanitizer left on a metal supermarket shelf across the land. Panic buying of toilet paper, pasta and rice turns ugly. A fight erupts in a Western Sydney Woolworths. Two Bankstown women, aged 23 and 60 are charged with affray.
Whilst no injury seems to have been sustained, the same cannot be said of the Morrison government which ends the week reeking of corruption after misleading the senate over changes to its rorted sports grants after it had entered caretaker mode 11 April 2019, whilst former Sports Minister Bridget McKenzie departs from the script by insisting she knows nothing of changes made in her name after caretaker mode commenced.
Sport Australia has refused to answer forty questions, which officials took on notice, effectively denying a senate committee request and failing to meet its Friday deadline. Former Health Department Head, Glenys Beauchamp, did comply but she’s destroyed all of her personal notes following her resignation in January. Genius.
Adding injury to insult, Attorney-General Porter has to be corrected by his own department on his misunderstanding of his own paper tiger DIY federal anti-corruption body he’s been drafting since 2018. Then, from up shit creek, there’s a hullabaloo about all that bushfire crisis money being as scarce as rocking-horse poo. Labor’s Murray Watt makes a convincing case that Scotty’s $2 billion dollar fund doesn’t even exist.
But you can be sure the virus will be made to take the blame for four years of its own, woeful, economic mismanagement. And the welfare of business mates and wealth creators will matter far more than that of households or pensioners or wage and salary earners. And we’ll never stop hearing about how wonderful it is.
And it’ll be no good asking about sports rorts corruption and illegality or anything unconstitutional because the PM’s presser will always be about something else.
Newly-obtained government records show that Donald Trump’s company has charged the U.S. Secret Service at least $628,000 for rooms, at rates as high as $650 per night, at his Florida and New Jersey properties since 2017. Secret Service personnel have used taxpayer money to stay at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago and Bedminster resorts in connection with Trump’s frequent visits there.
The Washington Post, which already had obtained and written about some of the records, received a new tranche from the group Public Citizen (where I am a board member), which has persistently pursued the records under the Freedom of Information Act since January 2017.
The total charges, from inauguration day through Trump’s stay at Mar-a-Lago this very weekend, are now likely much higher, because the government has refused to disclose more recent records. Plus, many other government employees, beyond the Secret Service, accompany Trump on these trips, and others may be staying at his properties at taxpayer expense.
Other parties are not like this.
Whenever you hear someone say “they’re all the same”, point out they are repeating deliberate Liberal Party propaganda.
The myth of sameness is precisely what enables the Liberals to get away with this corruption.
They are counting on people to believe this crap is business as usual – so One Nation, Palmer and now the Greens – can funnel preferences to them with no one even thinking about how important it is to put the Liberals last on their ballot paper.
Don’t let this country develop a culture of corruption. Kick them out.
Whistleblowers understand the conflict between the higher and lower path. It is a conflict of the conscience. Higher commitment requires the partisan to become impartial. The Senate trial required impartiality. Mitt Romney understood. Charles Grassley did not.
Listening to Senator Grassley, I heard what I have heard many times before. Grassley argued as opponents of whistleblowers argue. He diverted from the truth rather than commit to the truth.
Corruption inverts more than the truth. Grassley failed the Ukraine whistleblower. He failed the witnesses who supported the whistleblower. In his most important vote of all, he failed himself. He failed the test called whistleblowing.
Most jurisdictions in Australia have an independent body that investigates apparent corruption in politics and government. The Federal Government doesn’t. Taylor has questions to answer over the water rights dealings noted above, as well as the apparent falsifying of data for political ends. McKenzie only ‘resigned’ once she became a political liability to Morrison.
In addition, it is currently being reported that Infrastructure Minister (and Deputy Prime Minister) McCormack awarded 94% of infrastructure grants to areas represented by the coalition political parties.
And they keep refusing to consider legislation for a ‘Federal ICAC’.
What do you think?
US President Donald Trump subverted official foreign policy for his personal gain, undermined American national security and engaged in an unprecedented attempt to obstruct an impeachment investigation, according to a pivotal report released by Democrats.
The report by the Democrat-controlled House Intelligence Committee, released on Tuesday (Wednesday Australian time), provides a likely blueprint for forthcoming articles of impeachment against Trump over his dealings with Ukraine.
Victoria’s anti-corruption commission has raided the offices of Ferrari-driving property developer and political donor John Woodman and the homes of local councillors as it prepares to publicly grill politicians and property players over land deals in Melbourne’s sprawling south-east.
What’s not so obvious is that this conspiracy extends to the rule of law. According to this skewed version of reality, corruption has penetrated the bedrock institutions of American society: the political sphere, the intelligence agencies, the mainstream media. Corruption has transformed the very fabric of politics, culture, and law.
To root out corruption, then, it’s necessary to step outside the rule of law. Donald Trump hasn’t declared a state of emergency. But he is acting as if he has (which, in case you’re wondering, is illegal). His decision not to cooperate with congressional inquiries, including the most recent impeachment inquiry, is also part of this unstated state of emergency.
Conclusion: The Way Forward
You can see the problem and its solution coming, can you not? The issue is corruption: money in politics. Corporations would never have been granted the degree of influence they have were it not for our corrupt politicians. The deregulation and increasingly fascist relationship between corporations and government would never have been allowed to happen if it were not for corruption.
The purpose of this piece has been to outline three main industries were profits are determined by negatively impacting people’s lives: health, prison and armed combat. As long as these facets of society remain subject to the rationales of private industry (profit at all costs) there can, and will, be no progress.
To end, two quotes from people who get it
Jailing people, really, when you think about it, turned out to be a for-profit industry. I don’t know how we didn’t see it all these years
But my favourite has to be Star Trek DS9’s Quark, who said
No-one ever went broke selling weapons
An investigation by The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald and 60 Minutes can reveal that a criminal syndicate known as “The Company” used Crown-linked bank accounts and high-roller rooms to launder its funds, with Crown licensing and paying syndicate members to generate turnover in its Melbourne and Perth casinos.
So there was a problem a bigger one than they made Peter Slipper face, (ODT)
These are the issues that count to voters snouts in the trough and value for money from our paid politicians. (ODT)
There was a time, unimaginable now, when a cabinet minister and his wife were found by a customs officer to be carrying in their luggage a stuffed Paddington Bear when they arrived in Australia after an overseas trip.The toy, upon which duty was payable, did not appear on the minister’s custom’s declaration.And so Mick Young, minister for state in Bob Hawke’s government, stood aside from the frontbench while the matter was investigated.Peter Dutton, Michaelia Cash, Tim Wilson and Mathias Cormann.Peter Dutton, Michaelia Cash, Tim Wilson and Mathias Cormann.Credit:Alex Ellinghausen, AAPIt was 1984, Hawke, just a year into his administration, wanted no more scandal, and Young’s sacrifice was disproportionate to the crime.AdvertisementIt was, however, a memorable example of the concept of a minister taking responsibility for impropriety, even if it was inadvertent.Illustration: John Howard tried early in his term and lost seven ministers in less than a year for various sins relating to conflicts of interest and expenses and travel rorts.The current Australian government, however, has turned the concept on its head.With fast-gathering regularity, ministerial responsibility appears to have all but decayed to no responsibility.Daily now the nation is assaulted by revelations of conduct that would get the cold shoulder in a shearer’s pub.
Royal Commissions into Australian Financial Sector and the Murray Darling have shone a spotlight on Corporate Crime and political corruption. Morrison is concerned not about the criminality referred to but the rash response to it. No such concerns for Indigenous Australians who are jailed for not paying their bills or any similar concern for Asylum Seekers or African Immigrants is there. Will anyone be charged over the fact that politics protects and is entrenched in the inherent corruption of a sick system? Who is going to be charged? (ODT)
Prime Minister Scott Morrison says the Australian economy faces “significant consequences” if the banking royal commission triggers a credit crunch, while warning an election contest over which party is tougher on the beleaguered financial services industry risks undermining the system.
Benny Gantz is seen as the main contender to unseat Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel’s upcoming elections.
But the former Israeli army chief is currently being sued in the Netherlands for bombing the home of the Ziada family during Israel’s 2014 onslaught in Gaza.
An Israeli airstrike destroyed the house in the al-Bureij refugee camp in central Gaza on 20 July 2014, killing six members of the Ziada family and a seventh person who was visiting at the time.
Palestinian-Dutch citizen Ismail Ziada lost his 70-year-old mother Muftia Ziada, three brothers, a sister-in-law and a 12-year-old nephew.
Ziada holds Gantz and Amir Eshel, then air force chief, responsible for the decision to drop the bomb.
Last year, Ziada’s lawyers summoned Gantz and Eshel to appear on 27 June in a Dutch court to answer the charges. The lawsuit demands more than $600,000 in damages plus court costs from the Israeli generals.
Shortly before that date, the commanders appointed a lawyer to represent them, thus avoiding a default judgment in Ziada’s favor.
In this recent South African case we see yet another example of corruption between government connected people and the coal Industry. Trying to prop up a dying industry requires desperate measures and the hunt is on for pollies open to “incentives” to promote their product.
Australia finds itself in exactly this position and personally, I want to see a Federal ICAC in place to deal with the growing influence being exerted by the Coal industry because things are only going to get worse. Clearly the product is already too expensive and smoke appears to be seeping out from under under the door leading to the Coalition Party Room. I’m sure there’s a fire in there somewhere.
Nor might we have heard of his submission to build a third childcare unit, which is a remarkable interest in children despite his ongoing and robust resistance to other children in his care receiving medical care. Perhaps his interest is not the children, one might speculate?
Nor might we hear about:
Ex-MP Bronwyn Bishop’s questionable use of helicopters;
The $443 million been given to six people in a laughably named group called the “Barrier Reef Foundation” to get rid of money that might jeopardise an “on paper” budget surplus proposal;
Tony Abbott’s enormous expenses claims, or just about any politician’s expenses nowadays;
Sussan Ley’s coincidental and very rapid decisions on the purchase of Gold Coast property while funded by parliamentary travel entitlements;
Assistant treasurer, Stuart Robert’s family company, receiving 356 Government contracts worth more than $37 million.
Or again, Stuart Robert’s elephantine internet bills;
Nationals MP David Gillespie’s postal office profits which were the subject of an unsuccessful reference by Labor to the High Court.
To have fallen to 7th to 13th on the International Transparency Index – although to over a hundred other nations we are still remarkably high – it is indicative of a systematic weakening of our democracy. We are on a downward track which our Government is responsible for. We are a lucky country compared to so many, a fact we have taken for granted.
The wife of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu went on trial Sunday for allegedly using state funds to fraudulently pay for hundreds of meals, part of a list of legal troubles facing the family.
The start of Sara Netanyahu’s trial was the latest chapter in a saga intensely scrutinised in Israel but dismissed by the Netanyahus as another “absurd” attempt to discredit them.
Let’s face it we’ve just seen how politicians have interfered with the Independance of the ABC on behalf of the MSM.Isn’t that illegal? (ODT)
By far the biggest share of declared federal donations comes from highly regulated industries – mining, property construction, gambling, finance, media and telcos – then unions.
This appalling record on federal disclosure, accountability and transparency tells us the public’s perception that our politicians are dishonest is of the politicians’ own making.
They do tout for donations. They could agree to end the election advertising war by imposing limits on donations and no longer have to prostitute themselves.
When both sides finally decide there’s not much glory in being in a despised and distrusted occupation, nor much joy in basing policy decisions on rewarding the most generous vested interests, they know where to start in restoring their reputation.
A Woolworths worker has applied to terminate a national agreement on wages and conditions and claim back an alleged $1 billion in underpayments for up to 100,000 employees.
Matthew the Mafia Guy’s Man delivered on a Liberal Roll
A Liberal Party figure appointed by Opposition leader Matthew Guy to lead the state’s property development agency personally promoted the alleged head of the Calabrian Mafia in Australia to a prominent business body.
Tony De Domenico used his position last October as president of the Italian Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Melbourne to make alleged mafia boss Tony Madafferi, a chamber member.
Shlomo Filber, the suspended Communications Ministry director and former chief of Mr Netanyahu’s bureau, signed an agreement to become a state witness. He turned on his former boss less than a week after police recommended pressing charges against Mr Netanyahu in two other influence-peddling cases – and a day after news broke that police were investigating whether another long-time Netanyahu associate sought to bribe a judge.
Unfortunately it’s up to the Israeli Attorney General
Feb 13, 2018 – Promoted by Netanyahu, Israel’s Attorney General Must Now Scrutinize Him. JERUSALEM — Israel’s attorney general, Avichai Mandelblit, was Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s favored candidate for the country’s top legal job. Now, Mr. Netanyahu’s fate lies in Mr. Mandelblit’s hands.
Thousands of Israelis took to the streets of Tel Aviv calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over corruption charges.
Saudi Arabias leadership has arrested 11 senior princes, four current ministers and tens of former ministers.
Critics raised suspicions on Tuesday over a $300 million no-bid contract that was awarded to a small, two-year-old private energy company to restore Puerto Rico’s electrical grid. The company is financed by a major donor to the Trump campaign and the Republican Party, and also has connections to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke.Whitefish Energy, based in Whitefish, Montana, had only two full-time employees when Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico over a month ago, leaving about 75 percent of the island still without power.
Two members of a cell of allegedly corrupt border force officers have been arrested this week.
Leaked confidential government documents and briefings from senior officials suggest the pair who were arrested – one a current officer, Craig Eakin, and one a former officer, Johayna Merhi – were just the latest of several alleged corrupt insiders in Border Force and Customs who have allegedly compromised Sydney Airport or Port Botany since as early as 2003.
Police are likely to recommend Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is indicted following an investigation into bribery allegations, national broadcaster Channel 2 has reported. Multiple investigations into the leader were opened, but Case 1000 – which allegedly involves illegal gifts – was being treated as separate to the other ongoing investigations.