Red Shirts + Grey Corruption = Whitewash
The Operations Watts report recently released on the joint investigation by IBAC and the Ombudsman’s of the Red shirts and Branch Stacking matters makes for interesting reading. At first blush, a lot of costs for no result.
Whether intended or not, the report has serious, unintended consequences: Non the least, the Integrity bodies illegal activity and inept investigation of a relatively straightforward matter of Fraud committed on the State.
The report, however, gives a strong impression that the whole investigation and the final report are to achieve a particular predetermined outcome – nobody will be held to account. And that is arguable a corrupt practice.
The report, however, exposes a number of striking revelations, and not all of them intended.
The evidence released in this report is riddled with admissions of guilt, abuse of power, incompetence, conflicting interpretations of facts and commission of a crime; and that is just by the Integrity units.
Then there are the suspected perpetrators who set up, managed and implemented this artifice called Red Shirts, the more junior seemingly forthright, not a gift offered by the executives under scrutiny.
I always knew I was on the taxpayer dollar. I know that it wasn’t right, I know that it’s not what we were employed to do. You had to do it because of your job …
– Former electorate officer, in evidence to investigation (Operations Watts )
We are strongly inclined to the view that Ms Deborah Glass, OBE the Ombudsman, is currently doing the media rounds trying to justify her non-action, and we assume the non-action of IBAC Commissioner Mr Robert Redlich AM QC, her partner in these Integrity inquiries.
It will be interesting how long she can pursue this charade. We get a strong sense this is the beginning, not the end, as she has claimed, with the focus moving from Red Shirt perpetrators to the Integrity bodies themselves.
To quote Shakespeare, ‘The Lady doth protest too much,‘ because she has come to the realisation that there are damning indictments scattered through the Watts Report, damming of IBAC and the Ombudsman. She is in damage control, but the more she says, the deeper the hole.
So serious are the issues, that both the IBAC Commissioner and the Ombudsman can share their solace as they walk out the metaphoric door of Government employ when their ineptitude and illegal activity are exposed.
The Watts report by their own hands ‘hoists them on their own petard’, their continuance as Officers of Integrity is now untenable, and they must go.
In the last few days, Glass has said a lot about not being enough evidence to charge the Premier with any offence; obviously, pressure is being applied.
But the very same Ombudsman waxed lyrical about the evidence that had been accumulated against the engineer of the Red Shirts artifice John Lenders. If Ms Glass is accurate in her assessment of the evidence against Lenders, why hasn’t he been charged? Because if he is not, that is corruption by the integrity bodies.
There isn’t even political double speak to justify not charging him.
This is a serious blight on justice in this State when one person, in this case, the Premier, it is claimed has no case to answer, so everybody else in the Red Shirts’ criminal endeavour escapes scrutiny.
In this case, even those who have confessed to a crime will not be prosecuted.
That is outrageous.
As it is laid bare, the ineptitude displayed by our Integrity bodies requires nothing less than the two principles to walk, and somebody with Integrity appointed to undertake the prosecutions thus far waived.
This whole edifice, as described by Glass, was bad enough, but how it was investigated and handled by the Integrity agencies is nothing short of disgraceful.
And Glass had the temerity and afront to suggest the police apologise to those Red Shirt operatives arrested; what a hide.
Even apologising for her failures to the State of Victoria will not save her bacon.
More parts to follow…
End note – Congratulations to VicPol for rejecting the pleas for an apology.
If the Fraud and Extortion Squad had been permitted to do their job, Victoria would have put this artifice behind a long time ago, and the Judiciary may have seen fit to have some of the key perpetrators enjoying Her Majesty’s pleasure.