5 December 2023

Senator Canavan is wrong: there's never been a more important time for transparency

| Peter Strong
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Nationals Senator Matt Canavan giving a speech

Senator Matt Canavan doesn’t think Mike Pezzullo should have been sacked. Photo: Matt Canavan.

Given the political unrest in the world today and the emergence of extremism (think Trump), our society needs the highest level of transparency and accountability achievable by governments and the public service.

If bad behaviour is the norm, that can only lead to a general distrust in our political and legal systems and a decline in our society.

So, we come to the very public sacking of Mike Pezzullo, applauded by most observers except the Coalition’s Senator Matthew Canavan.

The Senator has been quoted as saying: “I think there’s an overreaction here. I wasn’t particularly shocked by the messages. As I say, this would happen every day of the week.”

The public service is certainly going through some navel-gazing after the Robodebt disaster and now the Pezzullo disgrace, as it should. But it is not a place where poor behaviour or blatant disregard for the APS code of conduct is commonplace.

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Australia is not (yet) a third-world country or a controlled society where dishonesty rules and the people live in fear.

It’s worth noting that both those events happened under the same Coalition government.

Public servants could not tell their ministers the truth about Robodebt and a couple of very senior public servants appear to have also let down their juniors.

Then, a secretary of a key agency tried to manipulate the system for his own benefit by influencing power brokers outside the government but within the coalition parties.

This looks like an environment or a culture created by that government that perhaps engendered poor behaviour and mistreatment of people.

Is that Senator Canavan’s plan? To scare people into voting for the far right of which he is a noted leader?

The Liberal Party is going through its own troubles. True Menzies Libs will always oppose corruption and applaud transparency and accountability – not because it is politically expedient but because it is right.

It seems the not-Menzies Libs don’t care so much if people do selfish things.

Now we come to the Labor Party, the current government. Are they only just a little bit corrupt? Do they think, like Senator Canavan, that corruption is OK as long as your mates benefit?

Yes, is the answer.

READ ALSO Was it easy for the PM to sack Pezzullo?

A bit of history to help the argument: all ancient and modern empires had vassal states with internal autonomy but whose foreign policies were decided by the empire.

Ancient Persia, ancient and modern China, the Ottoman Empire, the British Empire, the Soviet Union, the USA, all had, or still have, these states that, on paper, are allowed to do their own thing – except for dealing with foreign powers.

Labor is a vassal to the unions, created by the union movement back in the good old days when they had members.

The unions allow the federal government and those Labor governments in the ACT and the states to manage as if they were autonomous states, but when it comes to the union’s version of foreign affairs and resources – which is industrial relations and infrastructure projects – the needs of the unions come first.

The most recent polls show the ALP is not looking so hot these days, while the Libs look slightly better. (The independents may yet grow into a group with the balance of power.)

The ALP’s popularity has been impacted by the cost of living, the bungled Voice campaign, and mixed messages on emissions management and energy.

Bizarre workplace relations proposals would destroy many small and even larger businesses and very obvious favouring of union-endorsed businesses to build obscenely expensive infrastructure.

The unions currently have the numbers in federal Cabinet, but there are rumblings of discontent as others prioritise the needs of the economy and people’s health above wealthy, unrepresentative unions and their big business cronies.

The ALP would face an electoral defeat if the Menzies Libs were to grow and once again dominate their party. Or will we have a long period of minority government?

We know that, as always, the far left will blame the far right and the far right will blame the far left, and if we aren’t careful, the rest of us may be left right out.

Original Article published by Peter Strong on Riotact.

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