Common Sense is Compromised by Cash

Accountability and transparency have already been dumped by the Albanese government. They're protecting a minister whom I think needs to go.

Common Sense is Compromised by Cash
Photo by Markus Winkler / Unsplash

You would have heard the expression to "shut the gate after the horse has bolted".

It's often used to describe a pointless task but one which would have prevented a problem had it been done earlier.

We see that a lot in the realm of politics.

That's because politicians don't get credit for preventing a crisis. Truth be told, they need one to develop so they can then claim credit for 'solving' it.

A lot of times the crisis is confected for political purposes but sometimes they are very real.

It's unfortunate that when confronted with the latter, politicians duck for cover and refuse to be accountable.

That's what we've seen with one Federal Minister who, in my opinion, needs to resign.

Michelle Rowland is the Communications Minister who is also responsible for online gambling policy.

A couple of weeks ago it emerged that betting company Sportsbet picked up a near $9,000 dinner tab for her campaign a few months prior the 2022 election. It backed this up with a $10,000 donation days before the Federal poll.

There's nothing illegal about these donations, nor their lack of disclosure. It's all within the rules of the political game.

However, it says something about the judgement of a soon to be minister that she would entertain the idea of substantial donations from companies directly related to the most contentious area of her portfolio responsibilities.

It's a question of judgement and one that, in my view, Rowland has clearly failed.

Many years ago, when I was a politician, I entertained a group of friends at a fancy Melbourne restaurant. When it came time to pay the account, I was informed the meal was being 'comped'.

'Comped' is a polite way of saying I wasn't expected to pay.

It took 20 minutes and a conversation with a senior corporate executive before they would take my money.

The dinner was expensive but I insisted on paying because it was the right thing to do.

I didn't want anyone else to be picking up my personal entertainment expenses.

There was also the matter that ethically I'd have to disclose the benefit and that could lead to accusations of being politically compromised.

Michelle Rowland should have been aware of that circumstance when her dinner bill was picked up by the betting agency.

That's why I think she needs to go. Unfortunately it appears she isn't going anywhere.

Instead, she's using her judgement failure as an excuse to push donation reform to prevent it from happening again.

"Whilst this was compliant with all the rules, I appreciate that there need to be different levels of accountability and that there's different community views on this matter.

But also, I think this highlights one very important aspect and that is about disclosure of political donations.

I think that this is an area of long overdue reform and the Albanese Government has had a long-held position, for example, of decreasing the disclosure threshold so it is a lower amount that needs to be disclosed, but also having real time reporting."

That's how you turn a sow's ear into a silk purse.

The Minister's lapse of common and ethical sense was compliant with the rules and so it's the rules that are the problem and need to change.

I think that's bunkum. If you haven't got the nouse to do the right thing in the first place, regardless of the technicalities, you shouldn't be occupying the ministerial suite.

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