10th of December 2018
We had an International Anti-Corruption Day on 9 December. Did you know that? To mark the occasion Victoria’s IBAC was a joint signatory to one of the most hypocritical, not to mention downright dishonest, and self-serving documents produced at public expense. It says this, among other things:
“It is a matter for each public sector leader to determine how they will respond to corruption. Will they exercise the leadership that is required and demonstrate an unshakable willingness and determination to address cultural problems that enable and support corruption? Or will they take another path and perhaps delude themselves in thinking there is no corruption in their organisation? Will they try to ‘hush up’ allegations of corruption, or will they build strong ‘speak up’ cultures? Will they deal with corruption and integrity issues quietly, internally, behind closed doors, instead of openly and honestly? Will they dismiss issues as ‘just a few bad apples’ rather than looking for systemic problems? Will they be more concerned about protecting their own or their agency’s reputation rather than exposing corruption and taking the actions required to build corruption resistant organisations?”
This comes from the organisation that deliberately chose to condone a systematic and long-lived cover-up of corrupt police who framed a citizen (and to lie about their purported reasons). This comes from the organisation that deliberately chose to turn a blind eye to the infamous Red Shirts Rort involving a clear conspiracy to steal money from the taxpayers by the very public sector leaders now being addressed.
We do not dispute the sentiments of the document from which this extract has been taken. We do not doubt that several of the co-signatories (Australia’s anti-corruption bodies) are decent, honest and honourable people, but we do say that in at least the case of Victoria the actions lag far behind the rhetoric.
Perhaps this is because so many of IBAC’s staff came from the dishonoured Office of Police Integrity, but there should have been ample time for that handicap to have been overcome – ample time for “a few bad apples” to be identified and discarded.
There is that word again – “integrity”. CAA has called for that trait to be the hallmark of our public institutions. We have advocated for public agencies to adopt this standard in all their activities and be tested against a bench mark.
To illustrate the point clearly, we assert that there has been little apparent and transparent integrity in the leadership of police responses to the Red Shirts Rort; there were clear attempts to ignore this obvious crime; there has been clear differential treatment applied to different classes of possible offenders; and there is apparent delay – dragging the chain – in finalising what should have been a fairly simple fraud investigation.
Did they think it would all go away after the election? Were our officials “more concerned about protecting their own…reputation rather than involved in addressing seeming “cultural problems that enable and support corruption”- it is all down to Integrity.