October 08, 2014 | Graham

Belling ALP institutional corruption

Every election campaign that I can remember in Queensland has featured claims that the LNP or Coalition side of politics is corrupt. Those claims had some force when Joh Bjelke-Petersen was premier, but that is now 26 years ago. Today it is the ALP which has problems.

John Faulkner has just laid some of them out in a speech to the Light on the Hill Club in Sydney.

According to The Australian:

…Senator Faulkner said Labor must modernise and increase internal democracy by giving more power to members, re-evaluating its relationship with bullying union leaders and “undemocratic” factions, and eliminating the “stench of ­corruption” in NSW…

…The party which gave you Eddie Obeid, Ian Macdonald and Craig Thomson, and promoted Michael Williamson as its national president, must be open to scrutiny and its processes subject to the rule of law.

Faulkner’s solution is to limit union influence, widen the membership franchise and make party processes more open to litigation in the courts.

He sums up well the kiddy politics style of current campaigns:

Senator Faulkner warned of a massive public trust deficit in modern politics. Without trust, politics was “a contest of personalities, not ideas; a contest with no more relevance than an episode of MasterChef, for without trust in the political process how can any of us believe that the votes we cast can influence the future direction of our country?’’

Undoubtedly his concerns have been bolstered by the government’s inquiry into union corruption, which has just been extended for 12 months at the request of the commissioner, former High Court judge Dyson Heydon.

So far this commission has shown unions, in particular the CFMEU, involved in criminal activities. This is unsurprising, as the Cole Royal Commission in 2001 found that:

16. These findings demonstrate an industry [the building industry] which departs from the standards of commercial and industrial conduct exhibited in the rest of the Australian economy. They mark the industry as singular. They indicate an urgent need for structural and cultural reform.

The Heydon commission is uncovering even more examples of lawlessness, which confirm what observers like Paul Sheehan of the SMH knew even before the commission was instituted when he said:

There are clean unions and dirty unions. Then there is a bikie gang masquerading as a union, which describes elements within the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Engineering Union. Some of its officials belong in jail, along with bikies they employ as enforcers and blackmailers.

The CFMEU is an organisation which in 2010 donated $1,000,000 to federal Labor and 287,000 to various other entities including high profile MPs.

In 2013 its affiliation fees to the Queensland ALP were $80,932.50, and similar amounts would have been paid to other state divisions.

If the ALP were serious about corruption it would disassociate itself from this rogue union and send all donations back to it, just as it does to tobacco comapnies.

But apparently the cancer of a corrupt union is more addictive.

Instead of distancing itself from the CFMEU, under Julia Gillard it abolished the Australian Building and Construction Commission after a campaign by the CFMEU.

This is a serious corruption of the political process.

Posted by Graham at 8:32 am | Comments (8) |


  1. Yes the ALP has a number of problems which must be addressed, and with urgent alacrity.
    Senator Faulkner, who I admire, trust and respect, has laid it out there!
    And it’s that or follow the democrats, and the Dodo.
    It also needs to completely dissociate itself from the manifestly anti development, anti job greens!
    The needed reform and democratization looks easy!
    But rest assured, some entrenched little tip pot tyrants/tuggers, will give ground, if at all, inch by redoubtably defended inch!
    Finally, the ALP needs to get on board with electoral reform, so as to avoid the dog wagging the tail debacle, that is now the senate.
    Optional preferencing in all elections, would be my first choice.
    Other than that, there is a young 40% demographic that just doesn’t vote!?
    And who can blame them, given the way the elitist, [we know best,] ALP, [the natural home of the younger generation,] behaves, and marginalizes the membership.
    There’s a lot more reform needed, and the vision and leadership needed to carry it off and get that young demographic on board and actively embracing their preferred reforms, at the ballot box.
    If i.e., the ALP, were to embrace pragmatic tax reform, it would get a huge boost in primary support!
    The old hip pocket nerve is alive and well across the length and breadth of the vox populi!
    Instead, and I believe, we find self serving people with no real world experience, deciding to invariably spend more than they receive; and add evermore complexity/resist essential change.
    All while many multinationals, [who shall remain nameless,]
    cheat the taxman out of billions, as does a very professional tax practice industry. [Family trusts, super dooper super!]
    Why can’t we have an open transparent and massively reformed/vastly less expensive taxation system, that simply treats all income equally; and ends the need for any internal tax haven!?
    Overdue and real reform that’s too easy; but particularly, with ascendancy in both houses!
    And possible, if the national imagination is fired up and on board!
    And with that pragmatic change/reform, end for all time the rip offs and rorts, that is largely responsible, for the revenue shortfalls/structural deficit/deficiency.
    Besides, we do need to invest in a quite massive infrastructure shortfalls and that takes money, not endless excuses and the inevitable buck passing.
    The ALP, has always been the party of reform, and when there was still a light on the hill, actual future vision!
    Even so, it needs to own its own behavior!
    As does the coalition, not squeaky clean, in any fair comparison.
    And here we cannot should not allow “politicians” to escape justified and long overdue scrutiny, by simply diverting attention on to the other side; which also has its share of eccentric uncles, and seemingly corrupt individuals!
    Time for a real change, and change we can all actually believe in.
    And time for some walking to replace the endless talking/gab feast/negative campaigns!
    Alan B. Goulding.

    Comment by Alan B. Goulding — October 8, 2014 @ 12:25 pm

  2. I do find it interesting, to say the least that John Faulkner, the Hindmarsh Island man, who wanted sealed envelopes accepted as evidence in a court of law making these pronouncements.

    I was amazed that, after the obvious corruption he supported in the Hindmarsh Island fraud, that he was still in parliament. I had expected him to resign.

    So I guess with Labor it is a matter of how corrupt is too corrupt. Obviously it has to be pretty bad to matter.

    Comment by Hasbeen — October 8, 2014 @ 2:43 pm

  3. Well, there was all that kerfuffle over the Hindmarsh bridge and so called secret women’s business.
    In retrospect and with the advantage of 20/20 vision via the rear vision mirror.
    John may have been better advised to have their evidence presented in camera, rather than in privacy protecting sealed envelopes?
    John is one of hose rare pollies that seems as honest as the day is long.
    And those on both sides of the aisle, who know him a good deal better than Has, will tell you just that!
    And judging others on his standards, [which is normal human behavior Has,] he was entitled to believe that there was a sacred site, and a place very special to the original owners!
    Rather than those who “acquired” the land, and didn’t even attempt to pay mere lip service, to traditional burial grounds or special birthing places!
    Perhaps if there had been a Christian church or a graveyard there Has; those all too easily accusing John having his name associated with protecting indigenous rights as fraudulent, would have been obliged to pull the head in/put a sock in it!
    Accessing bona fide legal rights was not fraud Has, just lawful action protecting the real interests of our most marginalized people; ABORIGINAL WOMEN!
    The fact they were successful, the real bugbear!?
    As memory serves, John is a lawyer, and those opposing the development were entitled to some professional legal assistance; given those trying to impose their views/PERSONAL PROFIT MOTIVES, had plenty of high powered lawyers putting their position.
    And to suggest that any of our courts are corrupt, is very much a bridge too far, Has. And the very obvious pun was intended.
    As is expecting John to resign on your very suspect say so Has!
    I suspect the real problem here Has, apart from the historical sour grapes, is these elder statesmen may be outstandingly successful in reforming and democratizing the ALP; and in so doing, putting the coalition on the same path, the Tea party/religious right now finds itself on; and becoming more and more irrelevant, with less and less support by the day!?
    Imagine, if those non voting young people, (40%) were presented with an ALP they liked and would join or vote for?
    What that then would mean for the coalition, and their traditional support base!? And possibly explains the way you hopped into John Has?
    Alan B. Goulding.

    Comment by Alan B. Goulding — October 9, 2014 @ 12:25 am

  4. What a pile of manure Alan. You people can rationalise anything. I’ll bet you will even claim Obama is doing a good job for the majority of US citizens.

    Comment by Hasbeen — October 11, 2014 @ 5:57 pm

  5. Should we not fix the electoral system first, results last Federal election show a LNP seat was worth about 65.000 votes a Greens seat over 1.200.000. votes are not equal in value .

    Comment by frank mcenroe — October 19, 2014 @ 6:42 pm

  6. Actually, the Greens were only good enough to win one seat and they did that with 36,035 votes. That’s the seat of Melbourne, and you can confirm my figure here http://results.aec.gov.au/17496/Website/HouseDivisionFirstPrefs-17496-228.htm.

    On your figures, which I am sure are wrong, given that only around 90,000 voters vote in most federal electorates, the Libs had to work almost twice as hard.

    Comment by Graham — October 19, 2014 @ 10:56 pm

  7. The electoral system is corrupt . if the total votes of each party are divided by the seats claimed you will find all votes are not equal. if they were the greens would have 17 seats .go to australian-active-alliance.com.au there you will find the real facts.

    Comment by frankmcenroe — October 21, 2014 @ 7:17 pm

  8. Whoever is running that site is innumerate. You can’t take total public funding and then divide it by the number of seats won. The Greens contested a huge number of seats and only won one. The idiot running the site then takes all their public funding and applies it to that one seat, as though they hadn’t contested all the others. As a measure of democracy that is meaningless. It is guaranteed to make the most hopeless party look like they are the most hardly done by.

    Comment by Graham — October 21, 2014 @ 9:05 pm

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