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Power Corrupts Absolutely

By 13 August 2014 49

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Did anyone notice the oceans of salivation over Eddie Obeid’s, Joe Tripodi’s and Ian MacDonald’s discomfort when sprung by the NSW ICAC? All those Labor haters thought the wrath of God had finally arrived on those scumbags.

I need to say that I love Labor desperately. The Party has been good to me and has given me the opportunity to do things for other people that I otherwise would not have been able to dream of.

Imagine my joy at the discomfort of those Labor haters now that we have Hartcher, Cornwell and Owen sprung now! And there is a suggestion that Mr Loughnane, Federal Director of the Libs, knew about the dodginess.

And before anyone screams libel, defamation and slander, I merely quote from articles published in the fourth estate, in print and online.

However, after all this entertainment, let us consider and acknowledge the state of corruption in ACT politics since 1989. There has been none! So to all those Assembly haters out there, take note! Your preference to be governed by NSW as we are just a “country town” is to endorse governance by the corrupt.

All sides of politics during my 15 years there and my research and personal contact with colleagues of all persuasions have confirmed this; have not had the slightest hint of political corruption. And there was none between 1989 and 1998, either. Something to be immensely proud of!

Corruption only comes from the addiction to money or power. It is interesting to note that those who have indulged in the corruption for greed have usually been supremely well off. By Mr Cornwell’s own admission he took the money to pay off a PAYG tax debt. Obeid did what he did to feather his own nest financially. Neither needed the money! It was just pure greed! And both knew what they did was illegal!

No doubt some of our pollies have been offered bribes but to my recollection none has even contemplated accepting them. And they are the worst paid ministers and Members in the country.

We should be consistent in our condemnation of corruption in NSW by all parties and congratulatory to our home grown pollies here.

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49 Responses to
Power Corrupts Absolutely
davo101 8:44 am
13 Aug 14
#1

Two things:

The title should be “Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely”. I have the power at my place of employment to choose between a felt-tip or a ball-point pen despite of which I haven’t taken any bribes.

Also absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. We don’t have anything like ICAC in this jurisdiction, who knows what we might find if we start turning over some rocks.

neanderthalsis 9:42 am
13 Aug 14
#2

Imagine the wonders that may be unearthed if some brave soul stared digging around the development deals done by ACT Labor during their time in power here.

Reprobate 10:21 am
13 Aug 14
#3

Fair call John, but incompetence can be as bad as, if not worse than, corruption – and Ministers in ACT Governments of both colours have been guilty of that since 1989.

magiccar9 10:44 am
13 Aug 14
#4

No doubt some of our pollies have been offered bribes but to my recollection none has even contemplated accepting them. And they are the worst paid ministers and Members in the country.

John, how can you know whether they ‘contemplated’ accepting the bribes? Do you have a secret power to be inside their heads?
Also, our ministers may be (according to you) “the worst paid ministers in the country” but I bet I could muster a large crowd who would argue that they’re still paid far to much in relation to the work they do for us.

chewy14 11:09 am
13 Aug 14
#5

LOL,

Or they simply haven’t been caught.

MERC600 5:58 pm
13 Aug 14
#6

Steady on John .. those Labour haters your on about may be back. Isn’t there something going on down in Victoria about a house being painted under dubious funding arrangements. Haven’t followed it much past the headlines but it seems to involve some Labour type peoples.

HiddenDragon 6:07 pm
13 Aug 14
#7

“…let us consider and acknowledge the state of corruption in ACT politics since 1989. There has been none! …” – until the creation of the NSW ICAC and similar bodies in other States, some might have made similarly sweeping statements about those jurisdictions, as well.

With four year fixed terms, a unicameral legislature (not advocating an upper house, just noting that we don’t have one to keep an eye on the executive branch) and a local media which is not exactly relentless in its scrutiny of the ACT Government (more often than not serving as a mouthpiece/cheer squad) there is every potential for cosiness and arrogance to develop and lead to outcomes which are not in the public interest.

A decently resourced ACT ICAC, with the senior appointments made for a non-renewable fixed term (ideally of people from outside this little town), would be public money well spent.

dungfungus 9:12 pm
13 Aug 14
#8

“Obeid did what he did to feather his own nest financially. Neither needed the money! It was just pure greed! And both knew what they did was illegal!”

That’s a big call Johno.
I don’t recall Obeid being charged with anything as an outcome of his appearance at the ICAC hearings and I would expect that he won’t be charged.
Ever hear of the “octopus syndrone”? Obeid will bring more people undone if he is charged with anything.

Nothing like that in the ACT fortunately but we have a sort of oligarchy running things.

ghughes 9:46 pm
13 Aug 14
#9

By paragraph 6 I was giggling, by the end of the post, well …

miz 7:22 am
14 Aug 14
#10

None . . . [that have come to light as yet]. Perhaps it’s harder to identify corruption in the ACT because the whole process is so lax and there are things like ‘call in powers.’
You must admit there have been some pretty dodgy developments that have inexplicably gone ahead despite smelling pretty bad.

martin75 8:20 am
14 Aug 14
#11

neanderthalsis said :

Imagine the wonders that may be unearthed if some brave soul stared digging around the development deals done by ACT Labor during their time in power here.

What about the 460,000 dollar deal for a CBR logo and hastag?

Given to the same advertising agency that worked on ACT Labor’s last election campaign?

housebound 10:21 am
14 Aug 14
#12

The only real difference is that NSW has an ICAC to uncover these things. The ACT doesn’t.

dungfungus 10:27 am
14 Aug 14
#13

miz said :

None . . . [that have come to light as yet]. Perhaps it’s harder to identify corruption in the ACT because the whole process is so lax and there are things like ‘call in powers.’
You must admit there have been some pretty dodgy developments that have inexplicably gone ahead despite smelling pretty bad.

I would like to see what probity checks are planned for the Canberra tram tenderers given what has happened in Brazil with recent rail contracts.

Masquara 10:40 am
14 Aug 14
#14

“There has been none!”
How do you know?

Matt_Watts 10:43 am
14 Aug 14
#15

None? It depends on one’s interpretation. Like… banning pokies from pubs and the casino, when the ruling party owns one of the largest clubs (and is supported by pokies). Or how about the government sponsored Civic/ ANU development where it was only *after* the development’s announcement that the Labor club, which had been sitting on the Workers Club site for years, sold the site?

John Hargreaves Ex M 10:53 am
14 Aug 14
#16

Masquara said :

“There has been none!”
How do you know?

The answer is that I know most of the pollies since self govt very well. Also, remember that bribes are OFFERED by vested interests and not that often sought (although it does happen).

I was part of a tri-partite Assembly committee who looked into having an ICAC type organisation here and no evidence was proffered then to give any cause to create one. Indeed, the people we spoke to interstate suggested that these institutions end up being a law unto themselves and we should avoid it.

Matt_Watts 11:02 am
14 Aug 14
#17

John Hargreaves Ex MLA said :

Masquara said :

“There has been none!”
How do you know?

The answer is that I know most of the pollies since self govt very well. Also, remember that bribes are OFFERED by vested interests and not that often sought (although it does happen).

I was part of a tri-partite Assembly committee who looked into having an ICAC type organisation here and no evidence was proffered then to give any cause to create one. Indeed, the people we spoke to interstate suggested that these institutions end up being a law unto themselves and we should avoid it.

If that is the case… have you ever been offered bribes? If not, it really says more about the citizens of Canberra than the pollies, right?

John Hargreaves Ex M 11:07 am
14 Aug 14
#18

As it was put to me today, in NSW there is a race to the bottom. So how are the cyclists fairing? On the red team we have three Labor ministers gone. Obeid, MacDonald and Tripodi. On the blue team we have Liberal ministers, Hartcher, Cornwell, and Owen. But don’t forget a Premier (O’Farrell) and a parliamentary secretary (Ficarra). Oh, nearly forgot Sinodinos. Well! It looks as though the blue team is way ahead in the race!

Other contenders may well come out. There was some suggestion that the NSW Labor Right may have others but no evidence yet. A suggestion has emerged that the federal Director of the blue team(Loughnane) may be implicated but he is on the reserve bench at the moment.

This race is the Tour de Bottom and the paloton from the blue corner has it stitched up.

justin heywood 11:49 am
14 Aug 14
#19

John Hargreaves Ex MLA said :

As it was put to me today, in NSW there is a race to the bottom. So how are the cyclists fairing? On the red team we have three Labor ministers gone. Obeid, MacDonald and Tripodi. On the blue team we have Liberal ministers, Hartcher, Cornwell, and Owen. But don’t forget a Premier (O’Farrell) and a parliamentary secretary (Ficarra). Oh, nearly forgot Sinodinos. Well! It looks as though the blue team is way ahead in the race!

Other contenders may well come out. There was some suggestion that the NSW Labor Right may have others but no evidence yet. A suggestion has emerged that the federal Director of the blue team(Loughnane) may be implicated but he is on the reserve bench at the moment.

This race is the Tour de Bottom and the paloton from the blue corner has it stitched up.

So your team wins again! Congratulations John!

Matt_Watts 12:31 pm
14 Aug 14
#20

John Hargreaves Ex MLA said :

As it was put to me today, in NSW there is a race to the bottom. So how are the cyclists fairing? On the red team we have three Labor ministers gone. Obeid, MacDonald and Tripodi. On the blue team we have Liberal ministers, Hartcher, Cornwell, and Owen. But don’t forget a Premier (O’Farrell) and a parliamentary secretary (Ficarra). Oh, nearly forgot Sinodinos. Well! It looks as though the blue team is way ahead in the race!

Other contenders may well come out. There was some suggestion that the NSW Labor Right may have others but no evidence yet. A suggestion has emerged that the federal Director of the blue team(Loughnane) may be implicated but he is on the reserve bench at the moment.

This race is the Tour de Bottom and the paloton from the blue corner has it stitched up.

Interesting what this suggests about the different parties’ internal cultures… Team blue and team red… still cheering for the red team members even if they are carded…? I suppose there’s nothing new there… Al Grassby was one of the biggest crooks of the lot, so they erected a statue of him.

davo101 12:48 pm
14 Aug 14
#21

John Hargreaves Ex MLA said :

Indeed, the people we spoke to interstate suggested that these institutions end up being a law unto themselves and we should avoid it.

LOL. Were they possibly called Greiner, Obeid, or O’Farrell. Of course politicians hate the ICAC because it works. Why do you think every other state’s version has less powers than they do.

There are two possible causes as to why there has been not “the slightest hint of political corruption”:

1. The ACT has a low rate of corruption.
2. The ACT has a low probability of detection.

On the other hand it could just be we’re so small it hasn’t happened yet. If there are 17 assembly members and self-government has been running for 25 years then that’s 425 polly.years. NSW has 135 parliamentarians and 1500 councillors so they rack up 1600 polly.years per year. A quick glance at the ICAC history shows that they find about two corrupt pollys per year or one every 800 polly.years. At the same rate we would expect to have found 0.5 corrupt pollys in the ACT since self-government. Which is about how many there have been.

chewy14 1:34 pm
14 Aug 14
#22

John Hargreaves Ex MLA said :

As it was put to me today, in NSW there is a race to the bottom. So how are the cyclists fairing? On the red team we have three Labor ministers gone. Obeid, MacDonald and Tripodi. On the blue team we have Liberal ministers, Hartcher, Cornwell, and Owen. But don’t forget a Premier (O’Farrell) and a parliamentary secretary (Ficarra). Oh, nearly forgot Sinodinos. Well! It looks as though the blue team is way ahead in the race!

Other contenders may well come out. There was some suggestion that the NSW Labor Right may have others but no evidence yet. A suggestion has emerged that the federal Director of the blue team(Loughnane) may be implicated but he is on the reserve bench at the moment.

This race is the Tour de Bottom and the paloton from the blue corner has it stitched up.

this comment displays the worst of politicians, their parties and why I could never support any of them.

Yeah who cares about wide scale corruption from politicians as long as my “team” is not as bad as their “team”.

Disgraceful.

minkshaman 1:41 pm
14 Aug 14
#23

“So to all those Assembly haters out there, take note! Your preference to be governed by NSW as we are just a “country town” is to endorse governance by the corrupt.”

My preference is to be governed by Federal Government again actually.

John Hargreaves Ex M 1:47 pm
14 Aug 14
#24

justin heywood said :

John Hargreaves Ex MLA said :

As it was put to me today, in NSW there is a race to the bottom. So how are the cyclists fairing? On the red team we have three Labor ministers gone. Obeid, MacDonald and Tripodi. On the blue team we have Liberal ministers, Hartcher, Cornwell, and Owen. But don’t forget a Premier (O’Farrell) and a parliamentary secretary (Ficarra). Oh, nearly forgot Sinodinos. Well! It looks as though the blue team is way ahead in the race!

Other contenders may well come out. There was some suggestion that the NSW Labor Right may have others but no evidence yet. A suggestion has emerged that the federal Director of the blue team(Loughnane) may be implicated but he is on the reserve bench at the moment.

This race is the Tour de Bottom and the paloton from the blue corner has it stitched up.

So your team wins again! Congratulations John!

Team Liberals win. I am a member of Team Labor…..

John Hargreaves Ex M 1:50 pm
14 Aug 14
#25

Matt_Watts said :

John Hargreaves Ex MLA said :

As it was put to me today, in NSW there is a race to the bottom. So how are the cyclists fairing? On the red team we have three Labor ministers gone. Obeid, MacDonald and Tripodi. On the blue team we have Liberal ministers, Hartcher, Cornwell, and Owen. But don’t forget a Premier (O’Farrell) and a parliamentary secretary (Ficarra). Oh, nearly forgot Sinodinos. Well! It looks as though the blue team is way ahead in the race!

Other contenders may well come out. There was some suggestion that the NSW Labor Right may have others but no evidence yet. A suggestion has emerged that the federal Director of the blue team(Loughnane) may be implicated but he is on the reserve bench at the moment.

This race is the Tour de Bottom and the paloton from the blue corner has it stitched up.

Interesting what this suggests about the different parties’ internal cultures… Team blue and team red… still cheering for the red team members even if they are carded…? I suppose there’s nothing new there… Al Grassby was one of the biggest crooks of the lot, so they erected a statue of him.

Al Grassby was not a crook and was exonerated from trumped up charges in a court of law. It is easy to defame the dead and Grassby did more to further harmony in this country than any other pollie since federation. He had a heart for the non Anglo Celtic Australians whereas Scott Morrison and George Brandis …. well nuff said.

John Hargreaves Ex M 1:53 pm
14 Aug 14
#26

davo101 said :

John Hargreaves Ex MLA said :

Indeed, the people we spoke to interstate suggested that these institutions end up being a law unto themselves and we should avoid it.

LOL. Were they possibly called Greiner, Obeid, or O’Farrell. Of course politicians hate the ICAC because it works. Why do you think every other state’s version has less powers than they do.

There are two possible causes as to why there has been not “the slightest hint of political corruption”:

1. The ACT has a low rate of corruption.
2. The ACT has a low probability of detection.

On the other hand it could just be we’re so small it hasn’t happened yet. If there are 17 assembly members and self-government has been running for 25 years then that’s 425 polly.years. NSW has 135 parliamentarians and 1500 councillors so they rack up 1600 polly.years per year. A quick glance at the ICAC history shows that they find about two corrupt pollys per year or one every 800 polly.years. At the same rate we would expect to have found 0.5 corrupt pollys in the ACT since self-government. Which is about how many there have been.

The people of whom I spoke were a past Chief Minister from NT, the Lord Mayor of Brisbane, a WA Attorney General, a Committee member from Victoria and a couple of others. I have never met Mr Greiner (but thanks for reminding me of him) nor Mr Obeid or Mr O’Farrell. Thankfully.

John Hargreaves Ex M 1:54 pm
14 Aug 14
#27

minkshaman said :

“So to all those Assembly haters out there, take note! Your preference to be governed by NSW as we are just a “country town” is to endorse governance by the corrupt.”

My preference is to be governed by Federal Government again actually.

OK… bring on Tony Abbott, Julie Bishop, Joe Hockey, George Brandis, Eric Abetz, Scott Morrison, Mathias Cormann, Christopher Pyne, be careful what you wish for!

Matt_Watts 4:54 pm
14 Aug 14
#28

John Hargreaves Ex MLA said :

Matt_Watts said :

John Hargreaves Ex MLA said :

As it was put to me today, in NSW there is a race to the bottom. So how are the cyclists fairing? On the red team we have three Labor ministers gone. Obeid, MacDonald and Tripodi. On the blue team we have Liberal ministers, Hartcher, Cornwell, and Owen. But don’t forget a Premier (O’Farrell) and a parliamentary secretary (Ficarra). Oh, nearly forgot Sinodinos. Well! It looks as though the blue team is way ahead in the race!

Other contenders may well come out. There was some suggestion that the NSW Labor Right may have others but no evidence yet. A suggestion has emerged that the federal Director of the blue team(Loughnane) may be implicated but he is on the reserve bench at the moment.

This race is the Tour de Bottom and the paloton from the blue corner has it stitched up.

Interesting what this suggests about the different parties’ internal cultures… Team blue and team red… still cheering for the red team members even if they are carded…? I suppose there’s nothing new there… Al Grassby was one of the biggest crooks of the lot, so they erected a statue of him.

Al Grassby was not a crook and was exonerated from trumped up charges in a court of law. It is easy to defame the dead and Grassby did more to further harmony in this country than any other pollie since federation. He had a heart for the non Anglo Celtic Australians whereas Scott Morrison and George Brandis …. well nuff said.

It’s even easier to blindly follow a team, it seems. I note your willingness to comment in response to easy “red team vs blue team” issues yet you still haven’t commented on substantive questions of what it means to be corrupt. If you wish to be a mere cheerleader, that’s up to you, but I would have hoped for more from a former long-standing MLA.

justin heywood 9:00 pm
14 Aug 14
#29

John Hargreaves Ex MLA said :

Al Grassby was not a crook and was exonerated from trumped up charges in a court of law….

Interesting, and I wonder if you really believe that (does anyone?)

I always thought that you put up the statue as a giant F.U. to everyone not in the club. Not your finest hour.

John Hargreaves Ex M 8:05 pm
17 Aug 14
#30

justin heywood said :

John Hargreaves Ex MLA said :

Al Grassby was not a crook and was exonerated from trumped up charges in a court of law….

Interesting, and I wonder if you really believe that (does anyone?)

I always thought that you put up the statue as a giant F.U. to everyone not in the club. Not your finest hour.

I did it to honour his contribution to multicultural affairs, as Immigration minister and Commissioner for Community Relations. It is easy to believe the redneck stories and it is easy to deride people. I feel some compassion for the Mackay family but don’t believe that Al had anything to do with Donald Mackay’s murder. And the courts agree with me.

In answer to Matt Watt’s question about what it feels to be corrupt, the answer is – I don’t know. I still live in Wanniassa with my family and I live on my pension. The only brown paper bags I have had had pies in them.

David Marr got it right on the Insiders this morning talking to Mr Miserablism – keep the score, Gerard… three Labor Mins, no federal implication against how many Lib mins? 2 former Premiers, a fed parl sec, and perhaps the federal Lib machine.

Matt, be very careful about what you imply… your numbers are a bit revealing about the corruption endemic in the blue corner.

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