Red Shirts + Grey Corruption = Whitewash
The Watts report into the Red Shirts and Branch stacking activities undermines a cornerstone of our democracy – the rule of Law.
No one is above the Law, which is absolute; not an optional extra available to those in power.
‘At its most basic level, the rule of Law is the concept that both the Government and citizens know the Law and obey it. The Law should apply to all people equally regardless of their status in society – rich or poor, young or old, regardless of their gender, race, culture, religion, or any other attribute’. -https://www.ruleoflaw.org.au/principles/equality-before-the-law/
Just because you disagree with a Law that does not justify breaking it, a point missed by some during the COVID demonstrations. Disagree with the Law by all means, but use other mechanisms to change the Law; rather than breaking it.
In this case, the Integrity units have broken the Law that determines the existence of the Integrity bodies and how they must operate. These entities are supposedly designed to uphold the Law. One of the pillars between a lawful and lawless society. so for them to disobey a Law is an egregious crime.
The Integrity entities are not so privileged that they can pick and choose which laws they break, expecting impunity where the rest of the community does not.
“The Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Act 2011 (IBAC Act Section 162(6)(a)(b) prohibits IBAC from including in a report a finding or an opinion that a person is guilty of or has committed any criminal offence or disciplinary offence, or a recommendation that a person should be prosecuted for a criminal offence or disciplinary offence.”
“Similarly, the Ombudsman Act 1973 prohibits the Ombudsman from including a finding or an opinion that a person is guilty of or has committed an offence, or a recommendation that a person be prosecuted for an offence. -Operation Watts Report
Apart from the wording of the Law; the concept of the Tenet of the Law; the intent. Cannot be disregarded.
“We have carefully considered whether the identified misconduct constituted criminal offending that should be referred to the Director of Public Prosecutions. Ultimately, the relevant offence calls for a value judgement about whether a breach of public trust is so serious that it merits criminal punishment. Reasonable minds might differ on this.
Thus, although we consider the conduct egregious, the difficulties in proof are such that we cannot recommend prosecution.” – Operation Watts Report
The Act, ‘prohibits’, with an extraordinarily strong and unambiguous word that is transparent in its intent, preventing IBAC from including in a report a finding or an opinion relating to a prosecution.
Semantic arguments that they didn’t recommend prosecution, saying a prosecution would be unsuccessful, is without question a clear breach of the Law and, in many ways, is more objectionable than saying one would succeed.
This statement is calculated to nullify any other authority prosecuting the suspect referred to even the DPP. Even worse, the comments were construed in a way that could be extrapolated to cover all miscreants in the artifice. Arguably, grey corruption at work, or more accurately, a whitewash exposed.
These same reasonable minds identified in the Watts report may also reasonably conclude that IBAC and the Ombudsman have breached the Law by their comments. They have clearly expressed an opinion the Law requires them not to.
This action by the entities would seem to be precisely why the prohibition exists.
Under what basic standard of lawful endeavour do our two major integrity bodies get to choose what laws they may follow or not? This breach of the Law demolishes all confidence in both agencies as they have placed themselves above the Law.
This egregious breach places the agencies at a level no different from the perpetrators they are investigating, who also choose which laws they should ignore or break.
We need these agencies, however, these agencies must set the highest standard of
probity and in this matter they have failed spectacularly.
The positions of Redlich and Glass are now untenable.