The string of Royal Commissions have provided us with stinging visual images of corruption, notably among bankers and clergymen. Aside from some gratifyingly blunt cross-examination, causing a degree of humiliation, the legal outcomes are far from clear.
At this point we might hazard a guess that corruption and justice are a sleight of hand depending on the cards dealt. Now if you happened by chance to find yourself in the top say five per cent of the wealthy, then justice might not be your final chapter … indeed you may get away with murder!
Conversely for those of us finding ourself on the bottom of the wealth scale, it very likely that we may have a fairly depleted set of cards and with any minor misdemeanor we are likely to land ourselves well and truly in the justice system.
The Royal Commissions into Banking has shown us that corruption should be defined that as greed while the RC into Institutional Child Abuse clearly illustrated very ugly power. However there remains an underling theme, namely the main players showed no empathy for their fellow citizens and cunningly pushed their agendas very far from the accepted norms of human behaviour.
At the dull end to the Banking RC perhaps a little investigation therefore may be in order. Initially we witnessed Chairmen, CEOs and Boards grilled relentlessly. Frankly they looked corrupt and guilty. Enthused by shareholders for bigger and better profits, with CEOs seeking grander and greater bonuses as well, malpractice was encouraged from the highest levels, perhaps under the concept “only guilty if you get caught”. So how far down the chain of multi-layered corporations does the corrupt and greed go?
Is the customer service officer at fault for not providing a new customer with full information concerning dodgy products?
Are the IT folk corrupt when they massage corrupt charges into system?
Are managers corrupt for expecting corrupt agendas to flow though and not allowing employees to point out frauds or excesses?
Surely the CEO, Chairman, and upper management are corrupt for expecting overselling or charging and dubious products to their own personal advantage, namely bonuses.
Finally is the Board only interested in greater profits for themselves and shareholder well and truly into the corrupt little corporate pie?
Now outside large corporations, we ordinary citizens know that nicking a box beer is theft and might lead to a bit of trouble with the cops! Repeated nicking of boxes of beer certainly does. So why didn’t the large Banking bodies just stop and analyze their business?
OK yes there were a few whistle blowers and probably without their voices no RC would have eventuated under a Liberal Government.
But in general employees closed their mouths and shut their eyes. Why? Fear possibly, job protection, inability to distinguish good behavior from corruption. At higher levels was greed to enticing and simple honesty and ethics ditched?
It’s odd really, walk into your local bank’s branch and the customer service folk are all so nice!
That other Royal Commission, truly horrifying, related to Child Abuse in Institutions. This was not about greed but most definitely it concerned the lust for power of the ugliest kind, namely sexual power and gratification over very vulnerable children.
While disgrace of the clergy was rampant, oddly out of the agony of this RC only two men have faced charges. OK there was a lot of humiliation and institutions were obliged to pay reparation to victims of sex abuse. But frankly whatever money is paid can never substitute for the suffering felt by the victims.
Now the average citizen expects justice in these appalling cases. And yes a few priests have spent a bit of time in prison. But in the hierarchy of these institutions has anything changed?
Perhaps a few church closures might be needed?
Or at least make the slippery bastards pay taxes like everyone else.
Finally the South Australian RC into Murray Darling River basin has shown us some breathtaking greed as it surely cannot be just incompetence. With $13 Billion of tax payer money earmarked to fix the river system, the life line of our continent … where on earth did all the money and water go? Minindee has no water and thousands and thousands of fish have died. But the Murray Darling Authority has given massive water rights to very wealthy and connected irrigators … mates of Federal Government and water appears to have been stolen on a grand scale.
In the 1880s boats sailed up and down the Murray Darling river from Adelaide to Minindee! But unviable agribusinesses, cotton for example, have wrecked this very important river basin for both humans as well as wildlife … or what’s left of it.
Perhaps taxpayers should be demanding a look at those records and books and forget the slap on the wrist fines for massive, illegal, over pumping of water, some time in goal seems more than appropriate!
Josephine Zananiri lives in the Independent electorate of Indi and currently works in the manual labour arena tending native and exotic trees, so has plenty of time to think. Followed everywhere by her two dogs Percy and Fino who generally agree on all subjects, only occasionally deserting the conversation in the chase for samba deer.