TE-BO: Let’s talk about Government Corruption, Finances, and the people involved.
|TE-BO: Let’s talk about Government Corruption, Finances, and the people involved.
| Author: TE-BO – The Eye-Ball Opinion| Date: April 29th, 2014 |
For as long as one can remember the Nations finances has been managed by the Government duly elected at the time. The Finance Department is charged with with the ‘Treasurer’s’ bidding in enacting his Party’s agenda relative to election promises and managing the Nation’s finances. That is the way and it should be right – or is there an alternative?
What happens when a Treasurer gets it horribly wrong, or a rogue Government sets a social agenda the Nation can ill afford. Or a PM commits troops to a disgraceful war on the back of a personal relationship between two statesmen who have the power to send men and women to their deaths?
A lot happens in Government that reflects upon the personal agenda’s of politicians ego’s, and their invective allegiances to those responsible for putting them in the position of power. One can question every decision made in Government and ask is or has that decision been paid for.
At the ICAC hearings yesterday – i.e. 28th April 2014 – see transcript here – the revelations definitely give argument that even lowly ranked politicians are in the mix. Leaders claiming they don’t know what their party machine is up to is like mafia bosses testifying that they did not know who gave the orders to ‘snuff’ someone. Either that or they are so conditioned to the process at work, they no longer think about the process as anything but the way it has always been and they are OK with that.
There has always been an underbelly of thought, and confirmed by Royal Commissions and the like every decade or so, that all public servants are targeted and become involved with the lust of being courted by those seeking favours. Police Forces all across the globe are always dealing with the ‘turn and look away bribe’, along with the major crime events that seek intelligence from within. It is the same in all levels of Government – Local, State, Federal, it even extends to the judicial system, State and Federal Department Heads, and of course the biggest of the big – Unions and the way they extort from employers.
Some A$1 billion a year is collected via union member dues every year – how that money is expended is not subjected to any public auditing process. In addition to these revenues are the slush funds collected from the bribes Union Delegates and site supervisors get involved in with during the management of individual work sites.
It is the ‘age of entitlement’ and nobody is indifferent or so it would seem.
Let’s revisit the Wayne Swan legacy – some 6 years as the Nations Financial Guru – even awarded the ‘Best Treasurer in the World’ gong for his efforts. In Australia he is thought of as the dumbest, most idiotic, most dishonest in terms of Budget forecasting, the most unconvincing, and the person responsible for a spending spree that was more than the collective budget outcomes in all our previous Federated history.
Some $300 billion over six years has left an extended legacy for the new government and has ensure there will be another decade or so of more deficits, and a whole heap of pain to be endured by the Nation’s taxpayers.
A question – why should the Australian people be slugged for Swan’s indulgences? Why just blame Swan you might ask? Well it is the Treasurer’s job to say ‘no’ when Ministers came a knocking asking for a budget review, or when the PM stands firm on a policy agenda they want to initiate. The Treasurer knows the Nations finances, they should now when revenues are askew, or when outgoings are exceeding forecasts. Any private business with the same trouble always reins in the expenses until revenues are restored. Of course the issue is much bigger that that – Government expenditures form such a large part of the GDP growth and the spinoff economic outcomes and none of that can be underestimated on future growth and prosperity. Suffice to say – that a ‘Greece’ like experience awaits every Nation if they fumble the ball.
Very few politicians understand Government budgets and the duty of care that responsibility carries. Again, only a very small few would be qualified or have any idea in how to manage and run a top 100 company. The Finance Department advises the Treasurer and as in all Public Servant employ – if they want to keep their jobs then they dare not cross the Treasurer or the PM if the PM tries to sidestep the Treasurer.
You can see how convoluted this all becomes right – and then when elections come due the electorate says this Government did wrong, and ship in a new bunch who look at the books and say – ‘we’re bankrupt and it is all the fault of the previous government’.
Don’t you just despise that rhetoric – why not see it as a challenge and rather that blame others, just admit to the challenge and try to do better and make the best of a bad situation. Of course they can fix the problem in one easy swoop – just increase taxes but that would mean electoral defeat, and being ‘in’ government it appears is more important than ‘good’ government.
One could argue circumstances i.e. GFC – but look to the USA for insight. Obama inherited a debt in 2008 of US$7 trillion or so – in six years he more than doubled it – it now stands at $US17.4 trillion – [US Debt to the Penny]. President George Bush doubled the debt during his 8 years, and it was only in the early 80’s when their debt was less than $1 trillion. [Click on chart at right to enlarge and view in a new window.] The point being – that the electorate cops the bow-wave in any rogue Government performance, and are responsible for the price tag attached to all bad Governments.
From this synopsis – should we be more demanding of the credentials of our pre-selected candidates before they become elected?
The current standard of electing the vast majority of our candidates relies on Party membership, therefore as little as 100 or so are able to elect candidates to stand for election. How easy it would be to poison the pool of members to gain favour – i.e. the Malcolm Turnbull pre-selection process in the electorate of Wentworth NSW.
ALP Senator Steven Conroy as a senior Minister in the previous Government had control over the $40+ billion NBN roll-out. When one checks his credentials – all he has ever been prepared to admit to during his working life is he was a research assistant, and a superannuation officer for the ‘Transport Workers Union’ – [see details here].
How could anyone expect someone with as little business experience as Conroy has to do good when put in charge of the $40+ billion Government project? Who’s fault was it that he was elevated to such responsibility?
Conroy made monumental mistakes over all the time he was in charge of the NBN project. How many $billions did he gift away to ‘friends of Labor’ in contracts? Has anyone investigated whether those contracts had ‘favours’ attached? How can anyone not suspect that corruption was involved given Conroy’s relationship and closeness to the Obeid corruption scandal?
There has never been any published audit on Conroy’s Management of the NBN contracts, nor on Gillard’s ‘School Building Program’ that specificity targeted the personal finances of Government officials involved in allocating these contracts, or what value of Party donations was derived from those connected with procuring any of these government contracts?
If this were private business, and ASIC got a sniff of wind that possible corruption was involved, they would be like flies on a dung heap – but because it is politics, and government contracts are the ‘golden eggs’ laid for those who ever has the will and means to buy them. Everybody thinks these contracts are won by honest and moral means – we all suspect different and what is most important, none of us push hard enough to make these suspicions go away.
This current ICAC inquiry has more riding on it than the Obeid and MacDonald scandals, and there is not a journalist writing for a major news outlet, writing about the real story behind the headlines of individual politicians being caught out. Surly the leap from individuals to a systemic baseline where Political organisations act no different than organised crime syndicates doing their best to manoeuvre around the rules to gain corrupt advantage.
The public will never know to the full extent of how far the political corruption extends – all we can hope for is the ALP will be happy to throw Gillard under the bus to save themselves. But will that be enough?