Putting it into perspective
Paul Pollard writes: Re. "ICAC's 'disgusting' ruling against Labor: Obeids, Macdonald face charges" (yesterday). In your July story on the recent ICAC report on mining leases, you repeat the statement by counsel assisting the inquiry, Geoffrey Watson SC, early in the inquiry, that it would reveal "corruption on a scale probably unexceeded since the days of the Rum Corps". This silly statement shows remarkable ignorance of the seriousness of corrupt state government in much more recent times than the Rum Corps. It is now undisputed that the NSW premier Bob Askin was the recipient of funds from organised crime in NSW for years. Similarly, in Queensland the Police Commissioner Terry Lewis, appointed by Joh Bjelke-Petersen, was on the take from organised crime for years, and went to jail for that (though he continues to protest his innocence), while a number of ministers in the Bjelke- Petersen government were sent to jail for corruption. Having a premier and police commissioners as a part of organised crime for years rather puts the corrupt granting of a coal mining lease by a minister into perspective.