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Analysis and Comment (47)

“Who do you trust?” has become a common mantra in Australian politics. Our political leaders should do much more to stop the answer being “no one”. AAP Image/Julian Smith

How to restore trust in politics after the Victorian election

A fundamental lack of trust is at the heart of Australian politicians’ extremely poor reputation. It is the main reason why people’s opinions about their elected representatives have mutated from healthy…
G20 countries - including Australia - could improve their whistleblower protections. Image sourced from www.shutterstock.com

G20 still has a way to go with whistleblower protections

The G20 countries' whistleblower protection laws fail to meet best international standards, according to the first independent evaluation of both public and private sector whistleblowing laws. This is…
FIFA, led by president Sepp Blatter, is under fire once more for its decision to award hosting rights for the 2022 World Cup to the Gulf nation of Qatar. EPA/Atef Safadi

Qatar saga shows why FIFA should return football to the fans

Qatar did not win the right to host football’s World Cup in 2022 legitimately. That was impossible. Awarding the World Cup to Qatar was clearly not about passion for the game, nor about offering communities…
Qatari football fans celebrate … but for how much longer? Manaf Kamil

FIFA lawyers would find it hard to strip Qatar of the World Cup

Reports in the Sunday Times that improper secretive payments of millions of pounds were allegedly made to officials supporting Qatar’s bid for the 2022 World Cup have led to calls for the Gulf state to…
NSW premier Barry O'Farrell felt obliged to resign as a result of ICAC revelations when it wasn’t clear to all that he should. Daniel Munoz/AAP

Has monitory democracy spawned a monster in ICAC?

“Monitory democracy” refers to the extra-parliamentary, para-legal, post-bureaucratic institutions of scrutiny that emerged as recently as the 1970s in Australia. Their evolution has swept us along in…
Attorney-general Jarrod Bleijie and premier Campbell Newman are defying the lessons from other states and from Queensland’s own history of corruption. AAP/Dave Hunt

Newman turning back the clock in Queensland corruption fight

The old joke was that visitors to Queensland should turn their clock back one hour and their calendar back 30 years. There are indications state premier Campbell Newman wants to take Queensland back to…
A ‘national ICAC’, which the Greens recently proposed in response to the revelations in NSW, would be fraught with difficulties if implemented. AAP/Lukas Coch

A national ICAC? We need better anti-corruption bodies, not more

The corruption scandals facing New South Wales politics are about as complex as they come. The sheer number of investigations, seemingly involving a conveyer belt of familiar faces, have made the question…
Ritzy red wine has come to represent political influence-peddling in the resignation of NSW premier Barry O'Farrell. AAP/Julian Smith

O'Farrell resignation: red wine, political blood and cultural memory

Political scandals, the perennial product of the grinding gears of greed and governance, proliferate in the age of digital media, the 24-hours news cycle and anti-corruption bodies with wide powers. Constant…
Self-interest and greed drive the decision-making of too many of the professional classes who most influential global policies. www.shutterstock.com

Want ethical responses to a world of trouble? Focus on character

We read a lot these days about corruption, self-interest and personal tragedies. The latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change for the first time explicitly considers climate change…
NSW premier Barry O'Farrell has fallen victim to the state’s ICAC, resigning his post earlier today over a ‘memory fail’ in the evidence he gave before it. AAP/Dan Himbrechts

History repeats: how O'Farrell and Greiner fell foul of ICAC

Today, the New South Wales Independent Commission into Corruption (ICAC) claimed its biggest political scalp in two decades. Liberal state premier Barry O’Farrell resigned after what he has described as…
Many of India’s systems and institutions are corrupt. Will India’s disaffected youth be judging their candidates based on this? AAP

Corruption provides a focus for India’s sprawling electoral contest

In some ways, India is the world in microcosm: 1.2 billion people, more than twice the population of the European Union, and a federation of 28 states (same as the EU), plus seven union territories. The…
Out of their depth: Malasian prime minister, Najib Abdul Razak, and officials face a press conference. EPA/Mak Remissa

MH370 crisis has shown up Malaysia’s democratic deficit

Malaysia has consistently been one of the fastest-growing economies in south-east Asia. Among Asian countries, its level of global economic integration has been surpassed only by Singapore and Hong Kong…
The Abbott government isn’t the first to take aim at corruption in the construction industry. Alan Porritt/AAP

Royal Commission take three: construction sector still lawless

In light of the upcoming Royal Commission into trade union corruption, it’s worth asking if the recommendations of the two previous Commissions into the construction industry, together with other state…
What do the royal commission into union corruption’s terms of reference, as released by the Abbott government, suggest about the scope of its inquiry? AAP/Dan Peled

Royal commission gets broad brief to crack union corruption

The terms of reference for a royal commission into allegations of corruption and misconduct in the unions were lodged earlier this week by the federal government. The remit of the royal commission is both…
Politics can be removed from reform, such as to weed out alleged corruption in Australia’s building industry, without challenging its success. AAP/Julian Smith

Corruption in construction: building reform from the ground up

As allegations of corruption in Australia’s construction unions continue to emerge, the scandal – purportedly involving underworld heavyweight Mick Gatto and bikie gangs – appears to be an Underbelly script…
The CFMEU says corruption within the building industry should be referred to the police for prosecution, but the government is looking to a revived ABCC. Julian Smith/AAP

Bikies, unions … and the ABCC? Spinning the policing of work

Recent investigations into the Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) by the ABC and Fairfax have revealed relationships between rogue union officials, underworld figures and outlaw motorcycle…
Same as the old boss? Christie’s stubborn style is back to haunt him. Gage Skidmore

Chris Christie is just another old-fashioned New Jersey boss

Chris Christie has always encouraged voters to see him as anything but a politician. His lips seem to curl with contempt whenever he mentions New Jersey’s state capital, Trenton. He has long portrayed…
Surly: Zuma’s presidency has been marked by scandal and mismanagement. WEF

Zuma is just the face of South Africa’s democratic malaise

South Africa is mourning the death of Nelson Mandela, a founding father like no other. His legacy includes a still-lauded constitution, four peaceful, free and fair democratic elections (five if 2014 follows…
Don’t believe the hype. Liquidnight

Corruption is in the eye of the beholder

Corruption, so it would seem, is the talk of the town. In the past week alone we’ve seen stories emerge of a high-ranking official at a respected Chinese university trying to emigrate to avoid prosecution…
If it’s common practice to pay bribes for contracts, is it alright? Not quite. Sigurd Rage

‘Local business practice’ doesn’t justify unethical behaviour

You’d have thought corporate executives in a post-GFC world would have learnt, the hard way, the relevance of ethical behaviour. So it may come as a surprise that in a recent survey by Ernst & Young…
The scandal started with allegations that GlaxoSmithKline had made illegal payments to doctors and government officials. Ian Wilson

China’s pharma scandal and the ethics of the global drug market

China is in the midst of conducting a series of corruption investigations of pharmaceutical companies that have been operating in the country. It all started with the investigation of officials from pharmaceutical…
Victorian premier Denis Napthine may need to expedite reform to the state’s anti-corruption practices if a recent ombudsman’s report is any guide. AAP/Joe Castro

Footy, coffee and corruption: the Victorian disease

To steal a line, there’s something rotten in the state of Victoria. It has a serious problem with corruption, and may find itself ill-equipped to fight it. This might come as a surprise to Victorians…
Victoria Police arrest a Hells Angels member. Links between bikies and police have come under intense scrutiny after a series of leaks from inside the police. AAP/Julian Smith

Police corruption: we should focus on the ranks, not the rats

A police officer meets someone in a bar, one thing leads to another and within a few weeks a relationship blossoms. The officer then discovers that the person’s brother is a known criminal. Or an officer…
Mark Dreyfus has put forward a new bill to protect whistlerblowers, but it falls short in several areas. AAP/Alan Porritt

Keeping us honest: protecting whistleblowers

Australia has been fortunate enough to see mostly honest governments. We’ve experienced neither the corruption of 1950s Italy nor the tyranny of 1970s Brazil. We are not, however, without our issues: give…
Former Victorian detective Paul Dale arrives at the Supreme Court on the first day of his trial in Melbourne, Febr. Julian Smith/AAP

Paul Dale, Carl Williams and our trust in police

A Victorian Supreme Court jury is currently hearing a case involving former drug squad detective, Paul Dale, who has pleaded not guilty to twelve counts of giving false evidence to the Australian Crime…
There has been a media frenzy around allegations against Moses Obeid (centre) and his family at ICAC. But he’s not alone. AAP/Tracey Nearmy

Keeping up with the Obeids: the media and corruption claims in Australia

When the Obeid family took the stand at the New South Wales Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) yesterday, the Australian media took more notice than it previously had. This is perhaps not…
The Catholic Church’s cover-ups have all the markings of a corrupt organisation. AAP/April Fonti

Royal Commission must treat the church like a corrupt police force

The Catholic Church has constructed a white curtain behind which networks of corruption have been allowed to deepen. Professor Patrick Parkinson, a senior lawyer who formally supported the Church’s “Towards…
Bo Xilai may be the most “lurid” example of corruption in China, but he is not alone. AAP/Dennis M. Sabangan

Loud thunder, little rain: China’s new leaders target corruption

China’s new leaders are aware of the danger that corruption poses to the nation’s social stability and economic development. But entrenched corruption at the local and national levels, including among…
Degrees of dirt: the state and organised crime are not separate entities as we like to believe. Flickr/PropagandaTimes

Challenge 12: Look within for transnational criminals

In part 12 of our multi-disciplinary Millennium Project series, Jacqui Baker argues that the ugly truth of organised crime is that governments and their agencies are a fundamental part of it. Global challenge…
Now jailed former assistant director of the New South Wales Crime Commission Mark Standen is a key example of how corruption operates in Australia. AAP Image/Tracey Nearmy

Corrupting influences: does Australia need a National Integrity Commissioner?

The Australian Greens have proposed the introduction of a National Integrity Commission to provide an anti-corruption body operating at the federal level. Earlier this week, Greens MP Adam Bandt announced…
Workers building a stadium in Brazil for the 2014 World Cup. Questions linger about the process that saw Qatar granted the 2018 event. AAP/Fernando Bizerra Jr

Moneyball: why sporting organisations need to start playing by the rules

Rangers Football Club, the historically Protestant half of Glasgow’s “Old Firm” (the other half being the Catholic Celtic) has entered financial administration to prevent UK tax authorities installing…

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