Why a federal ICAC wouldn’t work

July 18, 2015

By Tim Lyons

18 July 2015

As anyone who remembers the Jeff Kennett-era bumper stickers “Vote 1 Auditor-General” knows, institutions designed to make the government accountable and honest enjoy strong support from the public. The same is true of state anti-corruption commissions such as the Independent Commission Against Corruption in New South Wales and the Crime and Corruption Commission (formerly the Crime and Misconduct Commission) in Queensland. It tends to be the political class that expresses reservations about them.

There is a satisfying schadenfreude in watching various colourful characters do the walk of shame into corruption inquiries, but it also tends to reinforce a deep frustration with, and alienation from, politics in general and party politics in particular.

Similarly, on political donations, the public reacts badly when shown the mechanics of political fundraising because it just smells like turning money into power – and into more money. Or vice versa. A cursory glance at the patterns of political donations shows a high correlation between regulated industries and the cash flows to parties. The democratic instinct on all this is dead right: not all fundraising is corrupt but there is a real sense in which all of it contains the possibility of corruption. And when dark money meets a faulty moral compass, the result is entirely predictable.


Click on the link below to read the full article at The Saturday Paper website.