Mutually assured corruption

Signs bring the said darkness forth herb beast days brought god place saying third from from given moved morning in spirit evening god he. Forth two moving creature signs meat midst void meat.

The Myth in the Desert
Thalesburry

Block title

Mutually assured corruption

What is most curious about John Barilaro is the honesty of his politics. Not in the conventional sense of integrity or commitment to the people he represents, but in the way that the truth sometimes bubbles up out of him. Accused of pork-barrelling, he says: yes, of course, that’s how we get elected. When given a trade posting, senior bureaucrats don’t bother dressing it up: one tells the otherwise successful candidate her job offer has been rescinded because it is “a present” for someone else.

“There is absolutely no place for gifts of government jobs, whether they are statutory appointments or government sector appointments,” New South Wales Premier Dominic Perrottet said after this was revealed. “Obviously yesterday the reports are concerning and from my perspective the independent review will look at that.”

Of course, Perrottet is the liar here. Barilaro is a straightforward grifter. He knows what politics is. He knows his life has been built on the everyday venality of a system structured to reward ad infinitum every kind of seat-warming huckster. If the system resembles anything it is the milking shed of a factory farm, all sucking hydraulics and dead-eyed creatures caked in their own faeces.

The offer to Barilaro of a job in New York, greasing export deals and charging back dinners, was not an accident: it was how it works. Politics in this country is not a calling but a period to be endured in exchange for a pension and the chance of a plum job. There are exceptions, of course: too few to name here.

This rot goes all the way through. The last Labor government to hold power in NSW boasts more ministers in prison than it does ornaments to the cause. On both sides, at all levels, people walk straight from office into lobbying firms. The Morrison–Turnbull government produced more arms dealers than it did policies.

All of this is by agreement. It is mutually assured corruption. It started with meaning: once that was despoiled and besmirched, and enough people looked away in disgust, the Mr Creosotes of modern politics came for both parties. They fouled the preselection processes and poisoned the idea of talent. They made it so that by the time most people arrive in Canberra they are already grimy with the soot of the party machine.

It doesn’t have to be like this. Still, it won’t change while we pretend a back-scratching post in the Financial District is an aberration. It is the very expression of a system built to enrich the people craven enough to stomach it. In his own contemptible way, John Barilaro has made that clearer than perhaps it ever has been.

This article was first published in the print edition of The Saturday Paper on July 16, 2022 as “Mutually assured corruption”.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

The professional classes make billion-dollar tax rorts possible

0
“The key lesson from WA Inc was that the shonks, crooks, spivs and conmen only really thrive with the assistance of the professional classes –...

The minister who survived Barfgate with the Barilaros makes one slip...

0
So the John Barilaro flying circus — with new special guest Eleni Petinos — has now fully overtaken the NSW government, cementing its brand...

ICAC finding puts MPs on notice over misuse of public money

0
A New South Wales ICAC report finding that pork barrelling could be classed as corruption could put paid to a belief popular among some...

Footy, horses and the whiff of an affair: the Barilaro scandal...

0
It’s now 40 days and counting since John Barilaro’s moment of glory turned toxic for the Perrottet government. The former NSW deputy premier’s get-the-fuck-out-of-here...

Small government and free markets – ideology or greed?

0
At a small event at the Productivity Commission last week, visiting Nobel Prize-winning American economist Joseph Stiglitz was talking about revolution. He said the free...

The professional classes make billion-dollar tax rorts possible

0
“The key lesson from WA Inc was that the shonks, crooks, spivs and conmen only really thrive with the assistance of the professional classes –...

Political donations reform is overdue — Labor shouldn’t waste time with inquiries

0
Australian Trade Minister Don Farrell’s commitment to lowering the political donation disclosure threshold to $1000 and requiring real-time reporting of donations is a welcome...

What the oil and gas industry tells itself

0
Royce Kurmelovs reportsOn day two, Kevin Gallagher stepped to the main stage at the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre, where the oil and gas...

Unfair? Unethical? or Corrupt? ‘Personal’ donations to the Liberal Party came from vaping lobby...

0
A national vaping lobby group donated a total of $44,000 to the Liberal Party but the money was declared as personal gifts from its...

Australia already has a UK-style windfall profits tax on gas – but we’ll give...

0
Australia already has a UK-style windfall profits tax on gas – but we’ll give away tens of billions of dollars unless we fix it...