You are here

Anti-Corruption Commission Hobbled

The once powerful New South Wales Commission into Corruption has been sidelined by a host of parliamentary changes that have ripped out its legislative incisors. Nothing highlighted this more than the findings it recently delivered on a number of very shady deals that had been hatched by three former New South Wales Labor Cabinet Ministers while in power to enrich themselves and their families. The Commission recommended these three former New South Wales Labor Cabinet Ministers should be prosecuted while no adverse findings were made against Liberal New South Wales Parliamentarians and one current Federal Cabinet Minister.

The New South Wales Anti-Corruption Commission can only act within the current legislative frame work. This framework has been radically altered to ensure the current batch of Liberal and Labor representatives in the New South Wales parliament will never have to face any real scrutiny about their behaviour while in office. This is a national tragedy considering the New South Wales Anti-Corruption Commission had collected a number of significant scalps under previous legislative arrangements.

In Victoria it’s business as usual. The Anti-Corruption Commission doesn’t even have its legislative baby teeth, let alone legislative incisors. It has delivered a few minor scalps of public servants who have exploited the system for their own personal gains but it has landed no big fish because it does not have any real powers. It can't initiate investigations and it cannot investigate any Victorian parliamentary representatives. The staff at the Victorian Anti-Corruption Commission are disgusted with the current situation. Unfortunately no changes are in the wind as both the Labor government and the Liberal/National Party Opposition have no intention of letting the Victorian Anti-Corruption Commission grow any legislative teeth.

Federally an anti-corruption commission isn’t even a gleam in Federal parliament’s eyes. Both the Liberal/National Party government and the Labor Party have indicated they are not keen on an anti-corruption commission. They’re happy to talk the talk but are unwilling to walk the walk. The Federal government was happy to call a Royal Commission into the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union but was not keen to extend that Royal Commission into the building industry as a whole. When it comes to corrupt behaviour in the private sector, unless you have access to rivers of gold to fund a legal challenge, the chances of uncovering corrupt behaviour in the private sector, especially the corporate world, is Buckley’s and none. “Poor Fellow My Country” – Apologies Xavier Herbert.