Former Attorney-General George Brandis said in Parliament before a committee on the 24th of October 2017 that “It is very appropriate for backbench members of parliament to receive remuneration from third party sources not inconsistent with their responsibility as members of parliament. Both consistent and commonplace.“
Some will try to spin it and say all it means is that some MP’s and Senators have second jobs. But it would be the easiest way to bribe federal MP’s. Most companies wouldn’t be paying MP’s and Senators without a result in mind. The Mineral Council admitted this week it wants something in return when it donates:
“The Minerals Council of Australia has admitted it makes donations to political parties to gain access to politicians, an unusually candid statement from a donor about the influence of money in politics.“
“The mining lobby group’s submission to a Senate committee examining the role of donations in Australia’s political system contrasts with the explanations given by other lobby groups and businesses, which said their donations were intended to support democratic processes.“
The chair of the committee, Greens leader Richard Di Natale, said the Minerals Council had “admitted what we’ve known all along” by saying it was paying for access.
“Our democracy is broken when a major mining lobby group feels comfortable publicly saying they pay for access to the old parties without fear of any consequences,” Senator Di Natale said. (Click here to read more)
The average person rarely gets access to politicians which is because we cannot afford a large donation.
Below is the video of George Brandis making the statement.
I’m no fan of George Brandis but he should be given some credit for at least being honest in the video.
Why the George Brandis statement didn’t get more media attention is a worry. It might also be another reason why it was announced in December 2017 that George Brandis “will leave Parliament to take up the post of Australia’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom.”
AAP reported at the time:
“Malcolm Turnbull has stood by the ability of backbench MPs to receive income from third-party sources.“
“The issue arose after an internal government inquiry cleared former cabinet minister Bruce Billson of inappropriate behaviour over his position with the Franchise Council of Australia while he was a Liberal MP.“ (Click here to read more)
Generally speaking, it is splitting hairs to distinguish between a MP being on the payroll of a company and the company donating money to get the decisions they want from the politicians. A prime example is the Chinese political donation scandal that has been in the media for the last couple of years.
Shanghai Sam Dastyari
Even Shanghai Sam has spoken of the problem: “Labor senator Sam Dastyari has warned there is something “fundamentally wrong and rotten” with Australia’s entire political system, claiming there are 10 huge companies with so much power and influence they have killed proper democratic process at the federal level in this country.“
“Four banks, and we all know who they are – the Commonwealth Bank, NAB, Westpac, and ANZ – three big mining companies, in Rio Tinto, BHP Billiton, and Fortescue Metals, you’ve got your two big grocery chains, and you’ve got your big telco, which is Telstra,” Mr Dastyari said.
They have “unprecedented concentration of corporate influence” in Australia, he said. (Click here to read more)
Politicians who become Lobbyists
The list of politicians who become lobbyists is a mile long. The Conversation reported:
The “revolving door” of politics – the means by which government officials leave office to become lobbyists, and by which lobbyists become government officials – presents problems for modern democracies that largely go unrecognised, unaccounted for and unpoliced.
In certain respects, the revolving door is inevitable, a natural byproduct of political tragics fulfilling a varied career in politics. But when even the most senior politicians go on to work as lobbyists, it can profoundly undermine democracy.
A lobbyist’s efficacy primarily depends on their ability to gain access to decision-makers.
Of the 538 lobbyists registered by the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet at the time of writing, 191 are former government representatives.
Working in government in any capacity provides knowledge that is invaluable to lobbyists. But the advantage is not merely informational: having worked with government officials means knowing them. It often means having had drinks with them, or knowing their loved ones’ names and birthdays, or their personal phone numbers.
The best lobbyists do not merely lobby a government contact: they lobby a friend. This immediately creates a conflict of interest that cannot be overcome; we are fundamentally biased toward those we like.
Incompatibility with the law
However, the conflict of interest does not end there. The revolving door makes it all too easy for corruption to take place, because it creates problems that aren’t adequately policed by anti-corruption laws in Australia (or in democracies generally). (Click here to read more)
MP’s and Senators who are beholden to others
Finally, I think we need to look at MP’s and Senators who are beholden to the people and/or companies who put them in parliament in the first place. An example is the Labor Party politicians who owe their position to the Unions who had the numbers to get them into parliament. The last number I remember seeing is the Labor Party was made up of about 50% ex union officials or have union backgrounds yet the Unions only make up about 17.4% of the workforce.
Then of course there are so many lawyers in parliament that they all look after the legal fraternity. Times are changing fast and the days of politicians being on the take one way or another is unsustainable. The voters are slowly but surely seeing to that.
The main point of this article is the video admission by George Brandis. It’s only 15 seconds long so if you didn’t watch it make sure you do because I find it an amazing admission and one the politicians and media seem to have swept under the carpet fast
Admin: I should hopefully have some positive news on the legal front in the next few weeks. Won’t say anymore at the moment but will let you know soon.
Please use the Twitter, Facebook and email etc. buttons below and help promote this post.
Kangaroo Court of Australia is an independent website and is reliant on donations to keep publishing. If you would like to support the continuance of this site, please click on the button below to donate via PayPal or go to the donations page for other donation options. (Click here to go to the Donations page)
If you would like to follow this website, you can by email notification at the top right of this page and about twice a week you will be notified when there is a new article.
Thank you for your support.
Categories: Attorney General Senator George Brandis SC