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Australia and corruption or integrity gone AWOL

Am I completely naive? We recognise many third world countries as having systemic corruption. We in our comparative first world luxury go so far as to look down on corrupt regimes or societies, but do we have that right? I have always believed Australia was essentially corruption-free. Of course, history says that isn’t entirely true – the Rum Corps for example – but when I arrived in this country in 1974 the feeling was one of an honest country. Not without a criminal element, of course,  otherwise there would have been no Underbelly series.


In the last couple of years, however, there have been a string of accusations against public figures that are not above board. Corruption? Where there is smoke, there is fire. New South Wales doesn’t have the ICAC because everyone is believed to be angels.

I was perturbed over the implications of the bottle of grange recently. Today I read about Kathy Jackson. Then there are issues around some $400,000 of slush funds. There is the conviction of Craig Thomson for fraud.

Union kickback accusations run hot too.

Recently I asked the question “What’s in it for me?” It seems to me far too many people are answering that question with a lack of integrity. From both sides of the political spectrum.

I don’t care if it is a $3,000 bottle of wine or a $400,000 slush fund, a union, a politician or a political party. It is corruption, whether we like it or not. Too much “What’s in it for me?” and too little integrity.

Some of our politicians seem to have questionable paths to reach their current status. I remember a lot of fuss over one of Julia Gillard’s ex-boyfriends (although I can’t see how that helped her become an MP), yet if one reads the history of Scott Morrison there are many questions there.

I ask again – where do we draw the line? When do we stand up and say this is NOT the Australia we want? When do we demand better of our representatives, whether they be union officials, politicians, business men – or even members of our own families?

I’d love to have the ability to delve into the possibility of questionable arrangements around the delivery of the management of our detention centres, but I’ll have to leave that to people like …… I was going to nominate one of my favourite investigative types, but perhaps I best not!

I’d like readers to share an “integrity gone AWOL” Australian case or situation that they remember. Not rumour, there must be some substantiation (a conviction is good!). From any field or political persuasion. A citizens’ collection. Let’s see as many as we can in one place. In order to keep this manageable, let’s say events from January 1, 1990 onwards.

Subscribe to the comments to get later additions to the list. There is one rule: no infighting! When it comes to political transgressions, very easy to be a one-eyed supporter and want to defend anyone mentioned by someone from the other side (or faction). So keep it clean, this is a collection, not a court case.

What’s your memorable case or event?

One comment on “Australia and corruption or integrity gone AWOL

  1. […] I wrote a while ago how ready first world countries are to criticise third world countries over corruption. We always consider ourselves so much “better”. Yet here I am related to people who […]


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