Budget

What does the government have to fear from a federal ICAC? A great deal, Crikey readers suggested. As Kishor Napier Raman pointed out yesterday, it’s usually the major parties that anti-corruption bodies worry the most. Meanwhile, readers joined Michael Bradley in questioning what we are gaining from our obsession with doping scandals.

On the need for a federal ICAC

Jock Webb writes: I don’t think Morrison will go near it and he doesn’t have to, unless the crossbench in the senate stands up and says ICAC or no bills passed. It is worth noting that with the decision in the Cunneen case and the subsequent neutering of the NSW ICAC the Liberals have shown they have no taste for the version with teeth. A proper federal ICAC would certainly have raised serious problems for the LNP. The Coalition does not want this at any price.

Julie Monton writes: Ironic, isn’t it? Since 9/11 we’ve been forced (in the name of “national security”) to sit on our hands as ever more cameras and tracking devices are trained on us while at the same time (strangely) our representatives in Canberra have granted themselves almost limitless rights to the fruits of this surveillance, shrouded their own actions in ever greater secrecy, and slowly and thoroughly de-fanged any bodies that could possibly oversee them. Only a national ICAC with real teeth and adequate funding can restore standards and ensure good governance — not just by rooting out the corrupt and captured, but also ridding us of the obviously incompetent. With all the challenges we have to face in the coming years, we’re  going to need very high-functioning government in Canberra, and right now many of the current batch don’t even seem to be facing in the right direction.

On doping scandals

John Richardson writes: Yes, the Shayna Jack “did she or didn’t she” story will soon rival that of the MH17 or 9/11 disasters… a television series waiting to happen.
The suggestion that an athlete can unwittingly ingest an illegal substance, while not impossible, is about as hard as the proverbial camel getting through the eye of a needle. The word is that high performance athletes can’t do anything without supervision, so high is the control exercised by their minders over their day-to-day activities. The fact is that it doesn’t actually matter: all that matters is that she is one of us… a member of our tribe. How else to explain how our society morphed from one whose heroes knew right from wrong into one that cares only about them not getting caught?

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Peter Fray

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