The Meeting Place

A government report has been locked away — but it wasn't the only thing kept from voters this week By Insiders host David Speers

A government report has been locked away — but it wasn't the only thing kept from voters this week

Posted about 3 hours ago

Back in October, the nation's often-warring media companies joined forces in a rare display of unity. As part of the "Right to Know" campaign, newspaper front pages were blacked out and TV ads ran across the networks.

It was an attempt to harness "people power" behind the cause of press freedom.

The rival bosses of News Corp, the ABC and Nine Entertainment even shared a stage, giving a joint address to the National Press Club.

So, what did this powerful campaign achieve? Absolutely nothing if this week was any guide.

In fact, it feels like we've regressed when it comes to transparency.

We're more in the dark than ever before.

The Gaetjens report won't be released

On Sunday, the Prime Minister rejected the auditor-general's finding of blatant political pork-barrelling in the Community Sport Infrastructure Grant Program.

Conveniently, the head of his own Department (who also happens to be his former Chief of Staff) apparently found the independent, highly respected Audit Office was wrong.

 

According to Scott Morrison, Phil Gaetjens found "no basis for the suggestion that political considerations were the primary determining factor".

How did Gaetjens reach this surprising conclusion, given the evidence of grants being awarded based on colour-coded electoral margins and the details laid out by the auditor-general?

We simply don't know. The report isn't being released. Not even a summary.

The Prime Minister cited past practice for the secrecy. "Reports of this nature," he said, were "documents of Cabinet" and would therefore remain confidential.

But reports of this nature haven't always been kept under wraps.

 

Questions surround Angus Taylor

Those with long memories will recall the "children overboard" affair during the 2001 election.

In 2002 a detailed report into the scandal by, you guessed it, the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, was tabled in Parliament. It wasn't happy reading for then defence minister Peter Reith.

More recently, then head of PM&C Martin Parkinson examined whether any rules were broken when Bruce Billson went from a ministerial portfolio to a lobbying job in 2017.

 

A letter from Parkinson, explaining his findings, was at least made public.

And just last year Martin Parkinson's report on the post-parliamentary jobs taken up by Julie Bishop and Christopher Pyne was tabled in full, in Parliament.

The Gaetjens report, by contrast, has been locked away.

And it wasn't the only thing kept from voters this week.

The Australian Federal Police dropped the case of whether Angus Taylor or his office forged a document as part of a political hit-job on Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore.

The AFP concluded a cabinet minister sending the Daily Telegraph a fake document was a "low level" matter and an investigation would chew up too many police resources.

We don't know if the AFP bothered to interview anyone in Taylor's office or even determined whether a criminal offence was involved. The Federal Police won't say.

 

We're yet to see any real change

Secrecy also surrounded the damning revelation this week that the Government knew in November its "Robodebt" system was illegal.

No one is prepared to say exactly when the Government was given this legal advice and how long it potentially sat on it.

 

There was the usual lack of transparency surrounding the annual data dump on political donations too. Donations under $13,800 are simply not disclosed, while those that are revealed are often difficult to trace.

And for good measure, the National Party kept a cloak of secrecy around its leadership ballot.

Michael McCormack clung onto his job, but we don't know if Barnaby Joyce fell short by one vote or six. No-one is apparently allowed to know.

From time to time, governments talk about transparency and accountability, but there was none on display this week.

The Right to Know campaign was a worthy idea. Sadly, it's yet to force any real change.

David Speers is the host of Insiders, which airs on ABC TV at 9am on Sunday or on iview.

Topics: g

 https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-02-09/we-have-regressed-on-transparency-right-to-know-politics/11942762

10 comments

The secrecy being displayed by this government is mind blowing. What is the motivation to hide so much from public knowledge? Is it Fascism or cowardice? So many instances in your opening piece (by David Speers) to comment on PlanB but the one that concerns me most is the AFP backdown on investigating Angus Taylor and getting to the bottom of who was responsible for the fake document accusing Clover Moore and her council of overspending. Makes me wonder if our AFP is corrupt? They spent 18 months investigating ABC journalists and Amanda Smethurst for writing legitimate articles the government didn't like but suddenly "don't have the resources to spare" to investigate a fraudulent document linked to Angus Taylor and his office? Something truly stinks here and I'm thinking fascism perhaps explains the stink more than mere cowardice. Corrupt police serve a corrupt government and the behaviour of our AFP in serving the government's wants and agendas is highly questionable and downright frightening.

Interesting, most innocent people who have had an investigation find that they have done no wrong would want all of the details released.

How modest is our P.M.  (LOL)

This political lightweight thinks he can smirk his way to another election win, dispite his criminal negligence and the idiocy of the sub branch of the Liberals that like to be known as the Nationals.

I've been wondering about the AFP for a while now.

I know we aren't necessarily privy to all that they might be involved in, and probably with good reason, but lately, every time they are mentioned there seems to be a political bent to whatever it is they are investigating.

The Angus Taylor case takes the cake though, no resources to spare?   I bet they will find resources soon enough if another union 'scandal' comes to light.  The union movement is a major target, and at a time when we have probably never needed it so much. 

 

 

Funny you should say that Ny19 re  'Fascism'  I said before Morrison got in that if he did we would have a fascist government and he sure has turned out to be just that.

The corruption/arrogance/ in this government has been right up there.

He --Morrison -- has always had an egotistical/arrogant personality with a smirk on his face while looking DOWN his nose and a whole lot of the party seem to be the same.  

They seem to be so busy fighting amongst themselves they are too busy to lead -- and IMO have     NO IDEA  of leadership

 

Ny19,read the 14 hallmarks of Fascism,find the one if any which doesn't correspond to this arrogant,hide everything from the public Govt that we have.

Ny19,read the 14 hallmarks of Fascism,find the one if any which doesn't correspond to this arrogant,hide everything from the public Govt that we have.

Did that Sainter and yep, they all fit. Not surprised!

How honest and Christen is the PM  NOT

Classic example yet again of a man which in this case is the Prime Minister of Aust hiding behind a bible on a sunday,but for the rest of the week forget about that and be what he really is Scotty from markerting.

Classic example yet again of a man which in this case is the Prime Minister of Aust hiding behind a bible on a sunday,but for the rest of the week forget about that and be what he really is Scotty from markerting.

I think it is about time the Governor-General jumped in and canceled this corrupt lying government -- that bought their way into power and are STILL lying and cheating!

Inside 'Shark One': Scott Morrison's new $250MILLION plane is revealed after a commercial Jetstar Airbus A330 is transformed into a 100-seater tanker for the prime minister

https://www.msn.com/en-au/news/australia/inside-shark-one-scott-morrisons-new-dollar250million-plane-is-revealed-after-a-commercial-jetstar-airbus-a330-is-transformed-into-a-100-seater-tanker-for-the-prime-minister/ar-AAH1PYT

 

And another

$85,000 a year for best friend of PM’s ‘sad & lonely’ wife to hang out at Kirribilli House

YET ANOTHER SCOTT MORRISON LIBERAL RORT! Taxpayers stumping up $85,000 a year for best friend of PM’s ‘sad & lonely’ wife to hang out at Kirribilli House

 

EXCLUSIVE: It’s being decried as yet another rort involving PM Scott Morrison. It can now be SUBSCRIBE or LOG IN to access True Cri

 

https://truecrimenewsweekly.com/yet-another-scott-morrison-liberal-rort-taxpayers-stumping-up-85000-a-year-for-best-friend-of-pms-sad-lonely-wife-to-hang-out-at-kirribilli-house/

Here is the rest here

----

EXCLUSIVE: It’s being decried as yet another rort involving PM Scott Morrison. It can now be revealed taxpayers are picking up the bill to the tune of $85,000 a year for the best friend of Jenny Morrison to hang out at Kirribilli House and drink cups of tea with the PM’s wife, who is said to be ‘sad and lonely’. Serkan Ozturk reports.

She’s the best friend of Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s wife and so happens to be married to Australia’s biggest QAnon conspiracy theorist, Tim Stewart. And somehow, Lynelle Stewart has scored herself a very cushy position at Kirribilli House at taxpayers expense.

It can now be revealed Ms Stewart is pocketing $85,000 a year as well as a Commonwealth car to hang out with her best friend, Jenny Morrison – the Prime Minister’s wife – at Kirribilli House in Sydney’s exclusive and chi-chi northern suburbs.

What her official duties are, it’s hard to say. Ostensibly, she was hired as a full time personal assistant. One source claims the pair while away their time having cups of tea while Lynelle keeps Jenny company.

Before scoring the position, Lynelle was already working full time at a disability service provider in Sydney, and said to be earning about $80,000 a year.

 

 

That is outrageous! Thanks for that info PlanB.

I wonder who takes their kids to school and back everyday? I think their school is in Engadine, Sutherland Shire which is a long way from Kirribilli House. Probably involves a driver and comm car at more cost to the tax payer.

I would say you could be right there Ny19

How good is political corruption.

Yes ex PS -- crooked as -- line your own pockets AND your mates -- time the GG stepped in me thinks

Makes you question whether GG is also part of the problem.

And now the Federal Court has ruled that the warrant authorising the warrant for the raid on the ABC was valid.  It all just leaves you shaking your head.  

https://www.smh.com.au/national/search-warrant-authorising-afp-raid-on-abc-valid-court-rules-20200213-p540h5.html

 

I tried to come back in to put this comment up, and to say they will be coming after us next, but couldn't get in.  I thought maybe 'they' were already here.  LOL.   But seriously it is no laughing matter, it is indeed a bad day for Australian journalism.

Outside court, ABC Head of Investigative Journalism John Lyons said the decision was disappointing.
"It is a bad day for Australian journalism," he said.
"After 18 months, we still have two journalists that face possible criminal charges.
"I contrast this to Angus Taylor and what the AFP's treatment of him was, that case was over within weeks."

 

"I think fundamentally the court ruled that the AFP have the right to enter a newsroom, to fossick around in confidential files, [and] to take information about the way it undertakes its journalism with its sources. This should send a chill down all of our citizens' spines," Mr Morris said.

"This is not the way a free and fair democracy works."

Yep, sends a chill down my spine!

This is not a democracy it is fascism!

Of course it is PlanB,THIS salesman of a PM gave 2 promisers at the last election,tax cuts for everyone...yipee and no death taxes,which were never going to happen,so a percentage of people jumped on board with the other rusted on supporters of the LNP,What have we got besides tax cuts and a i hope to have a surplus,nothing only hide the from the public all the rorts and other hidden agenders the LNP haven't yet tried to push down peoples throaths.

Of course it is PlanB,THIS salesman of a PM gave 2 promisers at the last election,tax cuts for everyone...yipee and no death taxes,which were never going to happen,so a percentage of people jumped on board with the other rusted on supporters of the LNP,What have we got besides tax cuts and a i hope to have a surplus,nothing only hide the from the public all the rorts and other hidden agenders the LNP haven't yet tried to push down peoples throaths.

Not only that it is a dictatorship. How will the people ever know what these fools are up to?

Below is someting Scomo persists in denying, claiming loos of jobs, no money for Australia, blah blah blah. Seems you have been caught out scomo.

Germany is shutting down its coal industry for good, so far without sacking a single worker. That's because Germany shut down its last black coal mine in 2018. As Australia looks to expand coal exports and build new mines, like Adani's proposed Carmichael project, Europe's biggest economy is phasing out its entire coal industry.
Having already extinguished black coal, Germany is now doing the same to brown coal — a cheaper, dirtier fossil fuel that spews even more carbon emissions.
In a grand compromise that many Australians might find hard to fathom, trade unions, energy companies, green groups and government have all agreed that the coal industry must go.
Lusatia is already becoming a hub for renewable energy, with solar fields and wind turbines sprouting up.

I have decided to pay no more duties or taxes.  My wife and I have done a thorough investigation into our finances and decided that we are exempt.

No I am not going to show any one the evidence that supports this.,  the investigation has been done and you will just have to take our word for it.

LNP/Nat ethics 101.

10 comments