Another absolutely damning report on the Immigration
Department, a few more headlines, no-one is responsible, the Government neatly
sidesteps the much bigger outrage and nothing really happens. Same old, same
old.

Just like the Rau case before it, the Vivian Solon
investigation indicates we have a terminally corrupt political culture – much
worse than anything Mark Latham’s Diaries accuse anyone of. And just like the Rau case before it, the
investigation has been deftly kept within limited bounds to make sure its
ramifications will be strictly limited.

Already Amanda Vanstone, Co-Minister for No
Responsibilities, has managed to hose the whole thing down to three unnamed
bureaucrats, one of them already retired. Despite the department’s overall
culture being fingered, no-one is responsible for it.

Indeed, those who are supposed to have been responsible for
it, who are and have been well paid to be responsible for it, have been given
honours and promotions. As the maxim of finance journalism goes, follow the
money – and if you do that you reach the conclusion that the Government has
been very happy with the way DIMIA operates.

But the big crime is the one Vanstone, Co-Minister Ruddock
and Prime Minister for No Responsibilities John Howard are all getting away
with: how DIMIA deals with non-Australian citizens.

It is a very fair assumption that many, many more people cop
the treatment dealt to Rau and Solon – but the Government will not be letting a
commission of inquiry look into that. These other people are not Australian
citizens and therefore apparently don’t matter to Vanstone/Ruddock/Howard.

Yes, the system works just fine.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

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