The West Australian Greens put a premium on government deliberations, decisions and actions being “transparent to the community who can hold them accountable.” It is right there under the heading Participatory Democracy as one of the party’s four key policy principles. What is not spelled out in the policy document is what those words about holding a government accountable actually mean.

As more and more details of the extraordinary Labor Party way of doing business are revealed at the hearings of the Crime and Corruption Commission, West Australians will soon find out. The two Green members of the Legislative Council have it within their power to force a corrupt government to an election by refusing to pass the Government budget. Labor has only 16 of the 34 members in the Council, the Liberals 15 and the Nationals 1. The numbers are right for a state version of a 1975 constitutional crisis.

The circumstances, of course, would be different. That Federal Labor Government might have been grossly incompetent but there was no suggestion of personal corruption. There was no former party leader behind the scenes acting as a Svengali to buy decisions on behalf of clients. This WA State Government is starting to look rotten to the core and the former Premier Dr Geoff Gallop’s retirement suffering from severe depression appears more and more understandable.

Dr Gallop tried to ban his ministerial colleagues from dealing with former Premier Brian Burke but evidence to the CCC shows how much he was ignored. In what can now be seen as an extraordinary piece of bad judgment, the new Premier Alan Carpenter lifted the Burke veto on taking over. Presumably he was simply bowing to the inevitable. Burke was in charge of many of his ministers and perhaps he knew it.

With hindsight it can be seen that Federal Labor showed some wisdom too. Kim Beazley regarded Brian Burke as a mate and refused to denounce him. Imagine where that misguided loyalty would have the party now as details of Burke’s improper influencing of public officials in WA come to light.

Peter Fray

Save 50% on a year of Crikey and The Atlantic.

The US election is in a little over a month. It seems that there’s a ridiculous twist in the story, almost every day.

Luckily for new Crikey subscribers, we’ve teamed up with one of America’s best publications, The Atlantic for the election race. Subscribe now to make sense of it all, and you’ll get a year of Crikey (usually $199) and a year’s digital subscription to The Atlantic (usually $70AUD), BOTH for just $129.

Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

JOIN NOW