The Operation Watts report promotes the ideal that there is one rule for the governing class and one for everybody else. It effectively and deliberately shatters what is left of public confidence in our system of Government and seriously undermines confidence in our legal system; this must be addressed.
A job for Politicians of all persuasions.
Equality before the law is another legal principle that the IBAC and the Ombudsman have chosen to ignore, according to the Operation Watts report.
Equality before the law, also known as legal egalitarianism, is the principle that all people must be equally protected by the law. The principle requires a systematic rule of law that observes due process to provide equal justice, and requires equal protection, ensuring that no individual nor group of individuals be privileged over others by the law. Sometimes called the principle of isonomy. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Equality_before_the_law
The arguments for the breach of this legal construct in the report dealing with the Red Shirts and Branch Stacking is blatant and seriously disturbing.
The complete disregard and disdain of the victims, we the voting public, of this artifice is not masked. Noting that the Role of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), who has an obligation under the law to consider victims was unceremoniously bypassed.
Forgotten is that the election of 2014 was influenced by the Red Shirts artifice. The hordes of Red Shirts that we thought were volunteers were in fact government employees.
As serious as not considering the victims is, when the operation and the findings by the Integrity units (which they are not entitled to make) promote inequality, there are serious problems.
- Public IBAC hearings is an example where it depends on who you are as to whether you are exposed to a public hearing. (The IBAC Act enables this inequity)
- If the perpetrators in this artifice were in the private sector would the outcomes have been different?
- When a suspect is ‘emersed’ in an artifice is it their position that allows them not to be treated equally before the law?
- Colour coding corruption to mask inequality is asinine.
As with the other matters raising concern with the probity of the Victorian Integrity units, we argue that each individual misstep should have serious consequences but taken as a whole, the IBAC Commissioner and the Ombudsman should seriously consider their positions if Integrity is to have real meaning.
A competent and independent legal officer must be appointed as the interim head of both entities while a review is undertaken and the DPP and the Chief Commissioner review all cases. A clean slate bi-partisan approach is the only option.
More to come…