Australia's grubby government

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Australia's grubby government

Post by barney » Wed Jul 21, 2021 7:00 pm

Recently the "sports rort" was exposed where the values-free PM, Scott Morrison, hijacked the federal government's community sports fund just before the last election and diverted the money almost entirely into low-priority projects in its own districts or marginal ones it thought it could take off Labor.
More recently it has emerged that Scomo unilaterally decided to announce a car park scheme the day before the election was announced, whereby overstretched railway stations would have car parks extended. This was to cost $660 million for 44 carparks again - surprise, surprise! - almost entirely in government seats or marginal ones. Two of the 44 carparks got built. (My local railway station, one which was promised a car park but which never got it, is full by 7am, leaving a lot of commuters to scour local streets.) There was no proper consideration; it was purely election engineering.

The auditor-general was scathing. Now a former Supreme Court judge has actually labelled it corruption. Morrison, of course, has only one core commitment, adhered to with the utmost integrity: himself. (Note how he slipped in between Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and his challenger, Peter Dutton, to emerge with the top job - some very crafty conniving.) A very sleazy politician who would fit right in in Mississippi.

This article was in The Age today.

Former judge labels $660 million car park fund ‘corruption’

A former supreme court judge has labelled the federal government’s $660 million car park fund “corruption” amid warnings that ministers may have breached laws that required them to spend taxpayer funds in an efficient and ethical way.

The damning assessments heighten the debate about decisions by Prime Minister Scott Morrison and key ministers to choose the car park locations in the lead-up to the last election, with 77 per cent of the projects located in Coalition seats.

David Harper QC said the car parks program appears to be an instance of taxpayers’ money being spent with a view to advancing the interests of the government.

The Auditor-General revealed the “inadequate assessment” of the projects in June and a parliamentary inquiry grilled department officials over the program this week, leading former Victorian Supreme Court judge David Harper, QC, to warn about the misuse of public funds.

“The commuter car parks program certainly appears to be an instance of taxpayers’ money being spent not after an assessment of greatest need but rather with a view to advancing the interests of the government,” he told The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.

“On any appropriate definition of corruption, this is an instance of it; and it should be called out as such.”

Mr Harper served on the Supreme Court from 1992 to 2013, was awarded an Order of Australia in 2008 and is an advocate for a national integrity commission to improve accountability in government.

Morrison funded 27 car parks just one day before he called the election
Mr Morrison and ministers including Alan Tudge, who was the minister for urban infrastructure at the time, allocated $389 million to the car parks on the day before the Prime Minister called the last federal election, sparking a rebuke from the Auditor-General for failing to safeguard taxpayer funds.

Labor has likened the National Commuter Car Park fund to the “sports rorts” scheme that put federal money into local sporting facilities, and which raised questions over whether the government had authority under the constitution to spend the money.

University of Sydney professor Anne Twomey, who pointed out the constitutional question over the sports scheme, said the spending on car parks was authorised by the National Land Transport Act but raised questions under other laws.

Professor Twomey said Section 71 of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act requires ministers to make sure spending was efficient, effective, economical and ethical.

“It is screamingly obvious, when you look at the Auditor-General’s report, that the grants did not fall within the category – at least some of them – of being economical or being efficient,” she said.

“There was inadequate planning, inadequate consultation, the costs were well outside anything that could be regarded as economical in relation to some of them.

“Ministers were under an obligation to make sufficient inquiries to be able to satisfy themselves of those things and clearly have failed to do so. So there is certainly breaches of the law.”

But there are no penalties for the breaches, highlighting the role of Parliament in holding the government to account for any bias in the way grants were made to projects in seats the Coalition needed to win to hold onto power at the last election.

Labor’s accountability spokeswoman Kristina Keneally, in an address to the Accountability Round Table on Wednesday evening, accused Mr Morrison of “normalising” misconduct.

She said in “normal times” there would be a fatal backlash against the government for overseeing the Commuter Car Park Fund or the Community Sports Grants program.

But the community’s focus on the coronavirus pandemic was helping blunt the traditional political fallout from its actions.

“Given the scale of what we are experiencing, perhaps people aren’t angry enough. Taxpayer money is being spent as Liberal Party money – at a disturbing rate, and with a brazen disregard for the principles of good governance and accountability,” she said.

“The Prime Minister is on a mission to normalise his misconduct because he believes that it’s a sure-fire way to get re-elected. The Australian people aren’t dumb – but they’re becoming numb to the wholesale rorting and waste of the Morrison government.”

Senator Keneally said there had been a deterioration in the public’s faith in institutions, with the government’s misuse of public money making the situation even worse.

“For all its virtues, democracy is a fragile institution. We saw vivid proof of that in January this year, the US Capitol Hill terrorist attacks, perpetrated by what President Biden rightly called domestic terrorists and far-right extremists,” she said.

“We must restore trust in democracy, but it requires bold strokes – and a commitment to hold ourselves to the same standard that we impose on those opposite.”

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Re: Australia's grubby government

Post by barney » Thu Jul 22, 2021 7:33 am

A list of 124 grubby, corrupt, secretive, undemocratic or authoritarian actions or behaviours by the grubby government since it took power in 2013. ... st-7-years

it is taken in turn from this of more than 900 since 2013.

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Re: Australia's grubby government

Post by maestrob » Thu Jul 22, 2021 9:53 am

Barney, Conservatives in the USA are also known for their massive corruption when they take power.

I still remember vividly one such example. When George W. Bush and Dick Cheney were put in power by our 5-4 Conservative Supreme Court in the famous election of 2000, they immediately invited the major oil companies to draft legislation that would re-write how the Federal government would regulate and otherwise manage the entire industry. Lobbyists convened in the Spring of 2001 and promptly drafted language that was passed by the Republican-controlled Congress with barely a hitch.

Remember, "W" was an oil executive in Texas before serving there as governor, and VP Cheney was CEO of Halliburton.

Here's an interesting analysis of that situation from 2004: ... urton.html

That Fall, the twin towers fell, and everything changed.

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Re: Australia's grubby government

Post by barney » Thu Jul 22, 2021 6:46 pm

Thaks for that very interesting link, Brian.

Halliburton has certainly come up a lot since then.

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