Tuesday, March 04, 2008

NSW Anti-Corruption Measures

Many in NSW wish that someone would dismiss the NSW Government! A number of Government members have been scrutinised in the media as a reuslt of the ICAC investigation into corrupt behaviours at Wollongong Council. The recommendation to dismiss Wollongong City Council was accepted, and Council has been sacked. (See here). They include Joe Tripodi, and Member for Wollongong, Noreen Hay. While not formally investigated, the relationships between the NSW Labor Party and developers has highlighted a number Government members who have, or have had, potential conflicts of interest. These, at least, have not been declared, nor has there been any apparent attempt to avoid or mitigate them.

There are wider issue here, with individuals and "interest groups" gaining access to the Premier and Ministers by buying lunch/dinner meetings with them. The guise is as a "fundraiser" for the ALP. That is, money buys access to government! It includes developers, the hotel industry (AHA), Clubs NSW, and gambling interests. One wonders what "return on investment" they have in mind.(?)

It would be timely to remind ALL of our state politicians that possible and actual corruption must be eliminated, and confilcts of interest avoided. Fortunately ICAC runs training sessions. There is one scheduled for 5 March on Corruption Prevention for Managers, although it is too late for them to register now.

ICAC should be invited to present compulsory training for ALL NSW Parliamentarians - MLA's and MLC's - and their Parliamentary staff. The voters of NSW reasonably expectat that they will know about, and take active measures to avoid, both corruption and conflicts of interest. Anything less represents reprehensible conduct. Ignorance is no excuse.

What will Premier Morris Iemma do - my prediction is that he'll do nothing! Unfortunately that will only erode not only confidence in the NSW Government, but the foundations of our democracy.