Thursday, June 24, 2004

Law and Order II

The ALP’s Centenary House rort is back in the news, yet again. A good summary of the actual 1991-93 deal is here.

Before I read up on the deal and its background, I was going to write on how the thing should be easily solvable, to something like the following effect. As landlord, the ALP is NOT the central villain in the story. Yes, it got an outrageously good deal, courtesy of Australia’s taxpayers, but what landlord wouldn’t say “yes” to such a sweet little prize? The real villain/s then, is/are whoever signed and negotiated the lease on behalf of the Australian government (= taxpayers). Again, if there is no provision in the Commonwealth Crimes Act making what they did a serious criminal offence and making the actual signatories personally liable for the lease – thus allowing the Commonwealth to rescind it – then there should be. Now. And make it retrospective, if need be.

If only it were that simple. Unfortunately: (i) a Royal Commission by Trevor Morling QC has thoroughly whitewashed the whole situation, and (ii) the impeccably-connected, corporate sleazebag-central Macquarie Bank was central to the whole deal.

BTW, TR Morling QC is the long-time Chairperson of the Australian Electoral Commission – that bastion of competence and impartiality. You know, the one that allowed Peter Garrett to “vote” – repeatedly – even though he was not on any roll. And also the one that washed it hands of the Tony Abbott slush fund issue last year.

Nice one, Trev. Your biggest concern, apparently, is to make sure that ordinary Australians vote – once – or else. Meanwhile, high-level corruption mysteriously flourishes all around you and you don’t see a thing.

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