HomePoliticsAustralian PoliticsWhy the Gladys Berejiklian ICAC report is a watershed moment for Australia

    Why the Gladys Berejiklian ICAC report is a watershed moment for Australia

    Another corrupt politician. Another toothless report. Australia raises its weary eyebrows and asks why they should care.

    This one is different though. This is important as it is a “standard setter”.

    Ironically the greatest anger comes from actions by Berejiklian that are not yet even under investigation. The disastrous way she handled the covid pandemic in New South Wales and the fact that so many koalas died while she was premier.

    Koalas have been around for about 25 million years. Berejiklian’s land clearing policies killed off 41% of their population in a mere 4. She fired senior politicians in her party who voted against killing more koalas. At the peak of the pandemic she chose to take the opposite path to the highly successful approaches being implemented all over Australia and in New Zealand. She refused to lock down Sydney while a taxi driver knowingly drove around while infected. For 10 days. Thousands died as a result. Her actions caused the virus to spread to other states and overseas.

    There are also numerous allegations of serious financial corruption relating to land deals and awarding of state government contracts. But right now we are focused on whether she should have reported the activities of her dodgy politician boyfriend Darryl Maguire. Which she was expected to do under the law.

    Berejiklian has sympathisers. Not many but they are around. “She is a woman and we need more of them in politics”. “She was lonely and in love so covered up the corruption of Darryl Maguire.” “She got some stadiums built.”

    A poll I ran recently showed that at least 2% of Twitter users think she should not be charged. 98% said she should be. So there will be considerable anger if she escapes.

    The Independent Commission Against Corruption will release its report on Thursday about 18 months later than hoped. The question it will answer is whether Berejiklian knew of the corruption so failed in her duty to report it. Will ICAC recommend that she be charged by the police for this?

    Berejiklian was caught on tape saying to Maguire “I don’t need to know that”. She bragged to him about how quickly she could answer his requests for grants for his electorate Wagga Wagga. “I’ll throw money at Wagga don’t you worry. Lots of it”. And she did that very same day. Tens of millions.

    She knew he was running illegal cash for visa schemes and arranging corrupt land deals. We listened to him brag to her about it.

    During hours of testimony before ICAC Berejiklian repeatedly refused to answer even the most basic questions and was adamant she had done no wrong. She resigned almost immediately after it.

    What is so interesting and so important is that this report could set a standard. If Berejiklian is not at least recommended for prosecution then what exactly do you have to do to be disciplined as a premier of Australia’s biggest state?

    It could set the bar so low. Politicians of the future will enjoy almost unfettered power to divert unlimited amounts of public money to friends and donors and even themselves. Take the chance to study more about this. It is a big one.

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