Corruption in the Australian Federal Government is rife. That can not be disputed. The list of examples is a mile long and I have written about numerous incidents previously and will continue to do so.
Over the last couple of weeks Linton Besser of Fairfax Media has done a number of articles on the subject in the Sydney Morning Herald and I will focus on them in this post. The reason being is that I have written about corruption in the Federal Government is most of my posts to some degree or another but have never really gotten into how and why which Linton Besser covers. He also covers my pet hate, that being the Attorney General’s Department which covers the courts (judges and magistrates and Federal Police).
The first article Linton Besser wrote was on the 24/9/11 titled “Public service keeps fraud cases private”. The title says it all. It starts off: “A code of silence surrounds graft accusations in Canberra”
It goes on to say “It was later revealed 110 Chinese migrants whose applications Moon had approved should never have been granted citizenship. Moon had been taking thousands of dollars in kickbacks and luxury overseas holidays to illegally fast-track them through the system. In 2008, the 69-year-old was jailed.”
“Now, a Herald investigation has found evidence to suggest there may be hundreds of similar cases lying in wait. Confidential files obtained using freedom of information show thousands of allegations of graft and abuse of office are being levelled against government staff each year – but only a handful are properly investigated.”
“But for the rest of the Commonwealth, no one is watching.”
“In the past six years, no fewer than 919 fraud investigations into Commonwealth public servants were prematurely terminated because they resigned.”
“They say where cases of serious corruption emerge – Moon is an example, as is Nick Petroulias, the former assistant tax commissioner jailed in 2008 for selling classified information – the AFP has the powers needed to investigate. But there are several problems with this position.”
”They have a conflict of interest,” John McMillan, the former Commonwealth Ombudsman, says. ”They do not want to expose a weakness in their own procedures or have the public questioning the integrity of their process. By and large the interest of an agency is to avoid any publicity questioning … its efficiency or integrity.” It is a must read article: (Click here to read the full article)
Just on John McMillan, who gets mentioned in my previous post “Pigs On The Run – The Australian Federal Police”, openly stated in an ABC Four Corners interview (October 2008) when he was the Commonwealth Ombudsman that the Australian Federal Police do not want to know about corruption in their own department. He said he was told this directly by senior Australian Federal Police. (Click here to read the post)
Linton Besser did another article on the 24/9/11 titled “Corruption claims dog foreign bureaucrats” It says in relation to corruption allegations”Although these cases were treated seriously by DFAT officers, many or all would have qualified for independent investigation if the Commonwealth had a standing royal commission against corruption, such as exists in NSW, Western Australia and Queensland.”
“The Greens have introduced a bill to install a national integrity commission, but the Home Affairs Minister, Brendan O’Connor, said this week he had yet to see a ”compelling argument” to support it.” (Click here to read the full article)
Then on the 26 September 2011 Linton Besser wrote an article titled “High-security public servants caught rorting their overtime.” It starts off “SENIOR staff in the federal Attorney-General’s Department with high-level security clearances have been investigated internally for rorting their overtime claims and obtaining financial benefits by deception, according to internal government files.”
“In April last year an investigation was conducted into allegations that a catering supplier to the department was also supplying a departmental official with cut-price Christmas food.”
“The person who lodged the complaint claimed the management group in this area of the department had a culture of corruption and that this incident was just ”the tip of the iceberg”, the investigation file said”.
“In August last year, a former staff member in the Attorney-General’s Department, Keiran Temple, was given a suspended sentence in the ACT Magistrates Court for fraud”
“The internal file said his five-month sentence was suspended ”for his guilty pleas and his willingness to help police investigate what Mr Temple believed was a culture of dishonesty within AGD”.” How many other people were ever charged? None! The probable reality is the Federal Police helped him get a suspended sentence to make sure he kept his mouth shut. Another must read article (Click here to read the full article)
On the 4th October 2011 Linton Besser wrote an article titled “Federal agencies lack firepower to deal with fraud”. They do not want the firepower as the politicians would also be held to account for their corruption as well.
It says in the article “In many cases where an employee resigns, whilst the subject of an investigation of criminal behaviour, the matter is generally not pursued by the department following the employee’s resignation, except of course in cases of serious corruption or bribery matters.” (Click here to read the full article)
That’s right, just resign and away you go with the loot. Hardly a deterrent for corruption.
A prime example of the corruption in full flight would have to be the National Broadband Network (NBN) which is currently being built. It would have to be regarded as a massive slush fund for the Labor Party cronies. I am not debating whether the NBN is a good or bad thing, just the amount of rorting that would be going on there is very suspicious and needs a full investigation.
Mike Kaiser is a well-known labor party crony and criminal and now works at the NBN. This is what it says about him in a Courier Mail article back in December 2007, “Mr Kaiser was a Queensland Labor MP but resigned in 2001 after admitting to involvement in vote-rigging in party ballots in the 1980s.”
“He had told a Criminal Justice Commission inquiry that he signed a false declaration in 1986 when taking part in Labor Party branch stacking.”
“Although not charged with any offence, Mr Kaiser quit as the MP for the safe Labor seat of Woodridge and was stripped of his ALP membership.” (Click here to read the full article)
But he went on to work for Premiers Morris Imma (NSW) and Anna Bligh (QLD)
In 2009 he quite his job as adviser to Anna Bligh and started in his new role with the NBN on a lazy $450,000 per year as head of government relations and external affairs for the NBN. It has been written about in the media such as in the SMH titled “How to get a $450,000 job: no ads required – just a nice word from the minister” (Click here to read) and Crikey.com.au titled “Mike Kaiser sails away with $450k as Bligh’s office implodes” (Click here to read)
The position was not advertised, Kaiser got the job after being recommended by his friend the communications Minister Stephen Conroy. And where did the $450,00 come from which is more than the Prime Minister. He just told them that is what he wanted and they had no choice given that Senator Conroy had in effect told them to employ him. I wonder how much of that $450,000 ended up back in the labor party coffers, maybe $5,000 or $10,000 as a thank you for the graft.
NBN’s chief executive Mike Quigley said “NBN Co had relied on similar referrals to find more than 40 per cent of its staff because it was growing rapidly.” So are 40% of the staff Labor Party cronies. I have no doubt that quite a few more are and the rort would be a multi-million dollar fraud or embezzlement or whatever you want to call it. But the bottom line is, it is straight out theft of the tax payer.
It must be noted that Mike Quigley himself has been caught out lying about his history in relation to the massive bribery that was going on at Alcatel when he worked there a few years ago. The old fox guarding the henhouse routine. (Click here to read an article in the Australian)
And that is why nothing is done about corruption in the Federal Government because it can lead straight back to the Minister and that allows others in the department to commit crimes of fraud. Because if they are caught the minister and department will hush it up otherwise they might blow the whistle on the lot of them. This is what is happening in a lot of the federal government departments without a doubt.
This post is important not just for itself but for other posts in the future and past. Knowing how and why the corruption game is played.
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