(Image: Private Media/Mitchell Squire)

The crisis engulfing Melbourne's Crown casino and the government of Daniel Andrews is now the biggest corruption scandal of recent years -- and yet again demonstrates how political donations and influence-peddling become vehicles for profoundly damaging distortions of public policy.

Crown is playing out as a carbon copy of the banking scandals of last decade at the Commonwealth level -- the generous donations, the employment of former staffers and politicians, the nobbled, underfunded regulator, the politicians happy to turn a blind eye, the ruined lives and the facilitation of organised crime.

The only novel twist is that Crown was also dudding the Victorian government of tax revenue, and that its pledges of being a changed organisation with a better culture have been shown to be hollow within months of it being made to face the Bergin inquiry in NSW.