(Image: AAP/Lukas Coch)

Once again ministerial staffers are front and centre in the biggest political scandal of the day.

Early this year, staff of the former sports minister Bridget McKenzie were shown to have played a key role in the systematic rorting of sports grants, after the Australian National Audit Office used its powers to force them to give evidence.

It reflected the highly problematic nature of a system in which staffers -- who are neither elected like politicians nor accountable like public servants -- make decisions and dictate to public servants.