Taskforce Integrity. Let’s start with politicians, shall we?

27 Sep

 

You may or may not be aware that in November 2015, the Turnbull government announced the formation of “Taskforce Integrity,” a unit set up specifically to address welfare fraud in the form of undeclared income and non-compliance.

WA Turnbull government MP Steve Irons tweeted his support of the innovation.

Yesterday we learned that Mr Irons charged taxpayers for flights from Perth to Melbourne for his wedding, and he also charged us for flights from Melbourne back to Perth for himself and his new wife, Cheryle.

Treasurer Scott Morrison also charged taxpayers for the cost of his flight to the Irons’ wedding. Both men have since repaid those monies.

Returning money you’ve stolen doesn’t mean you didn’t steal it in the first place. I am reasonably confident that neither thief would have repaid the money had their thieving activities not been exposed, or in danger of exposure.

Irons also charged the taxpayer for a trip he made to the Gold Coast to attend a golf tournament.

I have no problem with addressing welfare fraud. I do have a very big problem with politicians stealing taxpayer money to fund their personal lives, and can’t quite see why they are any different from those who seek to illegally and immorally benefit from the welfare system.

Even with my new glasses, I’m unable to see why those who defraud the welfare system should be charged and perhaps incarcerated, whilst those who defraud the taxpayer are given the opportunity to return the money, face no charges, and no jail time.

Integrity, much?

Yesterday I watched in weary disbelief as Attorney-General George Brandis claimed that his government is holding a plebiscite on marriage equality because the Australian people want a plebiscite, and we made this clear when we re-elected the Turnbull government, thus giving it a mandate.

The Turnbull government has a majority of one seat in the House of Representatives. This is hardly a mandate in anyone’s language.

Let’s quickly revisit the origins of this plebiscite. The notion was introduced by failed prime minister Tony Abbott to placate the rabid right-wing of his party who are incapable of rational thought on the topic of same-sex marriage, and appear to view it as a catastrophic threat to their own heterosexual identities and unions.

Abbott was also inspired by the Irish referendum. He disregarded the fact that Ireland was obliged to alter its constitution to accommodate marriage equality, while we are not. In Australia, it is a matter of a simple amendment to the Marriage Act, changed to discriminate against same-sex marriage in 2004 by the LNP prime minister who lost his seat after taking us into the Iraq invasion on entirely spurious grounds, and without any plebiscite, John Howard. But that’s another sickening story of lies, manipulation, immorality, death, despair and destruction.

Brandis concluded his litany of folded lies with the assertion that unless the opposition agree to a plebiscite, marriage equality will be delayed until the mid 2020’s, assuming the LNP wins the next election.

The Turnbull government is using the LGBTQI community for its own political purposes: delaying marriage equality as long as possible to placate the right-wing homophobes who permit Turnbull to play at being Prime Minister, and to wedge the ALP.

All that is required is an amendment to the Marriage Act, and Brandis made it clear yesterday that will never happen as long as the LNP are in power. This is not because we the people demand a plebiscite, and it is not because of any reasonable argument against marriage equality. It is because the likes of Cory Bernardi and George Christensen are terrified of the gays and lesbians and bisexuals and queers and transgender and intersex peoples. We are going through all this expense and all this angst because some seriously unhinged men, obsessed with the sexuality of others, cannot cope with the idea of difference.

Personally, I think the Marriage Act ought to be abolished. There’s no place for the state in intimate relationships. However, as long as it exists, and as long as it remains the powerful cultural marker that it is, nobody should be forbidden access to its legal and societal privileges.

And on the grounds that some ignorant, terrified, dysfunctional men don’t like what other people do in bed?

Integrity, much?

 

 

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55 Responses to “Taskforce Integrity. Let’s start with politicians, shall we?”

  1. lindacairnes2 September 27, 2016 at 8:17 am #

    “Personally, I think the Marriage Act ought to be abolished. There’s no place for the state in intimate relationships” So glad you said this. Agree with all of it. Beautifully said.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Jennifer Wilson September 27, 2016 at 8:19 am #

      Thank you linda.

      Like

      • lindacairnes2 September 27, 2016 at 8:23 am #

        The whole hetero normative marriage thang needs a whole other separate conversation…goods, chattels, patriarchy etc.

        Liked by 2 people

        • Jennifer Wilson September 27, 2016 at 9:30 am #

          Yes, couldn’t agree more, and it is a separate conversation, not to be lumped in with marriage equality.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Moz of Yarramulla September 28, 2016 at 12:07 pm #

            If only marriage equality was even on the horizon as a possibility. Despite the regular misstatements from commentators, the only “equality” being offered is a slight reduction in the number of people whose relationships are not considered real in some parts of the law.

            For all that various politicians don’t consider a whole range of people to have “proper marriages”, good luck convincing Centrelink that you’re not de facto. With your sister, and her best friend, even. They are very accepting of relationship diversity. And as George Brandis is very well aware, the invidious “reverse onus of proof” applies to allegations that someone is defrauding the state of welfare benefits by being in a relationship that the state refuses to solemnify.

            If we must use that standard, it should apply to politicians – let them demonstrate not that they didn’t know the law, or intend to break it, but that they have not in fact broken it. That’s the way Centrelink works.

            Like

    • zerograv1 September 27, 2016 at 2:19 pm #

      If you read the Marriage Act, its pretty much completely a document for a particular kind of financial partnership. It doesn’t seem to care too much about relationships, children or families. As far as all that goes partners of any type would be just as well served by a standard partnership agreement making the whole need for a Marriage Act redundant. To me, marriage is none of the Governments business and a definite case of political over-reach even having one. If politicians were honest *cough will never happen cough*, the right wing of the Liberal party would admit defeat and rather than attempt a fake stalling through a non binding plebiscite just admit they represent a minority of views in both the Parliament and Australia wide and just take it on the chin, move on, and got the sleeves rolled up and working on what they were actually elected to do – namely make decisions on spending public taxation on community assets and services…all the ideology and grandstanding is just an extreme form of laziness

      Liked by 2 people

      • allthumbs September 27, 2016 at 2:35 pm #

        I can’t think of many other institutions as conservative as marriage in nature, and I’d hazard a guess that it is the very nature of that conservatism, that SSMarriagers are drawn to, the conformist tick of the box, approval and acceptance.

        If the LNP’ers had any political brain, they would embrace it with a smug victory smirk, claim it as their constituency as defenders and proponents of the great institution of marriage, marriage for all for the sake of marriage.

        It was if I remember rightly the “living together” and then the “defacto marriage” that imperilled the age old institution and threatened to end civilization as we knew it.

        Liked by 1 person

        • helvityni September 27, 2016 at 2:56 pm #

          …and some called it ‘living in sin’…

          Like

        • Jennifer Wilson September 27, 2016 at 5:37 pm #

          allthumbs, yes, marriage is a very conservative institution and one would expect conservatives to support it.
          They don’t have a political brain. They must have some kind of brain but it borders on the reptilian.

          Liked by 1 person

      • Jennifer Wilson September 27, 2016 at 5:36 pm #

        zerograv, I agree that marriage is none of a government’s business.
        The Act does require celebrants to announce at the nuptials that marriage is between a man and a woman and to the exclusion of all others for life, so it does cover relationships.

        Like

        • Moz of Yarramulla September 28, 2016 at 12:10 pm #

          It does amuse me that the law requires celebrants to lie about the law.

          Legal marriage is explicitly NOT “to the exclusion of all others” (won’t someone think of the children) and is most definitely not “for life” (we have a huge body of law dealing with that exact issue, and I am pretty sure the religious wrong are aware of it).

          Like

  2. Macam September 27, 2016 at 8:32 am #

    Totally agree, is it any wonder our youth are disengaged with the system…

    Liked by 2 people

    • Jennifer Wilson September 27, 2016 at 9:33 am #

      Political corruption has become normalised. It’s a big battle to out it as criminal like any other corruption.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Macam September 27, 2016 at 2:40 pm #

        Welfare recipients are treated just a notch above asylum seekers…
        Its easier to be a drug dealer than line up for centrelink, and it pays better !
        This economy only works for some.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Hypo September 27, 2016 at 9:18 am #

    Arming our citizens is the only solution.We need to blast our way out of this mess.
    Guns for peace.
    : )

    Liked by 2 people

    • Jennifer Wilson September 27, 2016 at 9:34 am #

      The pen is mightier…..????

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hypo September 27, 2016 at 11:33 am #

        I agree JW, The mess is entirely via our fellow morons using them (writing implements) in voting booths with no sign of insight, spine,conscience or respect.

        ‘Up you Jack’ is the new and permanent psyche.

        I just thought while we were voting NOT to support SSM and then voting NO to constitutional reform,we may as well add a second amendment to our smoke and mirror document.I mean there’s no separation of church and state so we may as well go the Full Monty, and become an American state.Most of the hard work is done, and we have our fleet and bases sorted.

        What have we got to lose?
        Our National dignity has all but gone.One more election, 3 more One Nation pollies,couple of defective units from QLD,add Cory’s cult the resident loonies now and…..?.
        Game over for Straya?.

        Happy Days

        Liked by 2 people

        • townsvilleblog September 27, 2016 at 1:08 pm #

          Hypo, I thought that we were all but in name the 51st State of the United States of Australia, under the control of the other US of A. We are still allowed to elect ‘our’ government as long as it’s a tory one.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Jennifer Wilson September 27, 2016 at 1:49 pm #

          Help me I just watched the Trump/Clinton debate we are doomed

          Like

          • zerograv1 September 27, 2016 at 2:45 pm #

            The State Department has a job to do no matter who gets elected. Hillary won the last 3/4’s of the debate but thats not necessarily cause for comfort

            Liked by 1 person

            • Jennifer Wilson September 27, 2016 at 5:39 pm #

              No, it isn’t, zerograv. The race is far from certain & Trump has considerable appeal. Clinton is obviously the better candidate but she doesn’t have Trump’s emotive common touch that so many find endearing.

              Like

          • doug quixote September 27, 2016 at 3:07 pm #

            Trump looked hectoring and a little frazzled. The finger pointing got more intense as the rationality weakened.

            I think Hillary is about as good a candidate as we have seen in recent times, and will make a fine President.

            Liked by 1 person

            • Jennifer Wilson September 27, 2016 at 5:31 pm #

              While I think Clinton has her head around the issues, Trump has an inexplicable appeal to the non political class who react positively to his rhetoric.
              So I don’t know who will prevail.

              Like

              • allthumbs September 27, 2016 at 6:38 pm #

                Jennifer, here is my dilemma, I agree with Trump’s view on the US Fed, TPP, American Isolationism, the state of the stock market bubble and a few other things. It sounds like a leftist agenda in many respects if you squeeze your eyes, put a finger in one ear, stand on one leg and discard everything else he said.

                Liked by 1 person

                • doug quixote September 27, 2016 at 7:19 pm #

                  It’s a populist agenda. He knows that many Americans will respond to these issues, even some of the Left. At the risk of Godwin’s Law, Hitler’s program had a wide appeal to Germans (and foreigners) across the political spectrum. He stole ideas from the socialists. Trump has some appeal to the embattled and disgruntled white workers, who might normally be Democrats.

                  Liked by 1 person

                  • allthumbs September 28, 2016 at 10:21 am #

                    DQ, some populist policies are not always such a bad thing. My favourite contradiction of Trump during the debate was the: Clinton is a politician, all talk and no action, but then he blamed her for singlehandedly doing so much?

                    Meanwhile the IMF is blaming Trump before he theortically wins the next election for making things worse than they already are, 30 years of free trade coming to an ignominious end.

                    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2016/09/27/imf-sounds-alarm-bells-over-trade-slowdown-and-low-inflation/

                    Note the note of admonition for anybody to query the benefits of “free trade” while at the same time exhorting nations to prepare their populations for massive potential unemployment and social adjustment ( read unrest).

                    Liberal Party hypocrisy the gift that keeps on giving:

                    http://www.theage.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/revealed-mp-stuart-robert-speech-partly-written-by-property-developer-lobbyist-20160927-grplt7.html

                    Like

                    • paul walter. September 28, 2016 at 11:36 am #

                      Agree with this…it is a shame that choice has been narrowed to exclude Warren and Sanders and Trump’s agenda is so incoherent and corrupted as to be meaningless.

                      Like

                    • doug quixote September 28, 2016 at 10:31 pm #

                      “Some populist policies are not a bad thing”

                      The prosecution rests. 🙂

                      Like

                  • paul walter. September 28, 2016 at 11:46 am #

                    Exactly. Trump knows his constituency will block out anything Clinton say as Leftist, complexity defeats them. His constituency is basically the US version of Hansonists dog whistled by another master of the black art, Howard. They are not looking for reasons or ideas only reinforcement of massaged prejudices. Once decided, this mindset is impervious to reason and both Trump and Clinton know it.

                    It is that crude and that simple

                    Like

                • Jennifer Wilson September 27, 2016 at 10:40 pm #

                  Ok, allthumbs, I’ll take your word for that 🙂

                  Like

                • jo wiseman September 29, 2016 at 4:35 pm #

                  Trump has a left-wing agenda around the TPP in the same way Hitler had a pro-Jewish agenda around the horrific Jewish ghettos during WWII. (Now DQ has triggered the Godwin booby trap I can walk into it safely.) Did you know that Hitler wanted to close down the Jewish ghettos? Oh yes. By shipping the Jews to death camps. Trump wants to replace the TPP by one or more agreements where he is better positioned to be the ripper offer.

                  Liked by 1 person

      • townsvilleblog September 27, 2016 at 1:09 pm #

        Jen, I wish it were, Shaun.

        Liked by 1 person

    • townsvilleblog September 27, 2016 at 1:11 pm #

      Guns for peace.good on ya Hypo, then it would be complete, we could legally grab the title of the United States of Australia! We could have mass murders every other day, just think how brilliant that would be! Just like the yanks.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. diannaart September 27, 2016 at 10:08 am #

    While I agree in full with Jennifer Personally, I think the Marriage Act ought to be abolished. There’s no place for the state in intimate relationships. We are stuck with marriage.

    So let’s make it equal. People who do not want to marry, may continue NOT getting married (praise be to freedom of choice) and any who wish to make a really big deal about their union may choose to formalise the occasion by signing a piece of paper.

    The personal problems the Christensens, et al, have with what people do in bed remain their personal problems for which they can seek help.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Moz of Yarramulla September 28, 2016 at 12:17 pm #

      If only marriage was “people who want to marry”, rather than “people who satisfy a long and arbitrary list of conditions”, and explicitly not requiring ongoing consent for the marriage to be valid (there is a similarly long list of conditions for getting unmarried). I mean, have you even looked at the requirements for having your marriage to a non-citizen considered valid? There’s two options: “are they young, white and rich” and “hahaha open wide”.

      That’s not even getting into the complexities for someone who has been “declared incompetent” or is incarcerated, or someone who is already married (even if a new marriage would be legal in their country of second citizenship). Quite why “I live with my ex-wife, our children, and my fiance” is fine-for-men (less fine-for-women but we’re discussing that), but “I live with my wife, our children, and my fiance” is something we cannot possibly allow to be mentioned… I am not sure.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Jennifer Wilson September 29, 2016 at 3:52 pm #

        Moz, I can’t see why any of this is necessarily a concern of the state: it all tracks back to religious morality of one kind or another: nothing to do with the state.
        People can and do live in polyamorous arrangements regardless of the state, I think only bigamy is a crime.
        TBH, I don’t see why bigamy is a crime when infidelity isn’t.
        Get the state out of intimate relationships, is my thinking. We can still keep separation law with regard to property & children.

        Like

        • Moz of Yarramulla October 4, 2016 at 8:50 am #

          There’s a long discussion on CT that goes into why this is a concern of the state. “marriage” is not a simple construct, and the ramifications for those in “illegitimate relationships” are wide-ranging and can be severe (remember the gay men dying of AIDS whose care decisions were made on their behalf by members of their estranged families because their life partners were not recognised… that sort of stuff).

          http://crookedtimber.org/2015/07/08/polygamy-and-polyamory/

          Liked by 1 person

          • Jennifer Wilson October 4, 2016 at 9:50 am #

            Yes, I do remember that stuff, Moz, the indignity and disgrace of it.
            Thanks for the link.

            Like

  5. doug quixote September 27, 2016 at 10:19 am #

    Given that we are stuck with the Marriage Act, despite the sensible proposition in your article to abolish it . . .

    The plebiscite was and is designed as a means to kick the decision off down the road, as far as possible. Whilst probably most people don’t think this is a major issue, a significant and noisy minority are rabidly opposed to what they see as a further step on the slippery slide to Sodom & Gomorrah. The Looters & Nutters Party political heartland shelters a large number of the rabid ones, stirred up by reactionary churchmen and god-botherers of all persuasions.

    The prospective campaigns want access to public money to pursue their agenda, and we can guess the arguments likely to be raised – they’ve all been canvassed ad nauseam in Ireland, Spain, etc:

    [if you want a list –

    The Netherlands (2001) Belgium (2003), Spain (2005), Canada (2005), South Africa (2006), Norway (2009), Sweden (2009), Portugal (2010), Iceland (2010), Argentina (2010), Denmark (2012), Brazil (2013), France (2013), Uruguay (2013), New Zealand (2013), the United Kingdom (2014), Luxembourg (2015), the United States (some States 2015), Ireland (2015), Colombia (2016), and to be in Finland (from 2017) Mexico (many States, from 2010).]

    Apparently the world as we know it has not ended, nor have children run amok in the streets (any more than usual).

    The plebiscite is non binding on parliament and without Constitutional sanction and is therefore a oversized opinion poll.

    The parliament should legislate same sex marriage into being without further ado.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Pancho September 27, 2016 at 12:17 pm #

      No, the LNP plebisciters© aren’t really even remotely interested in ‘what they see as a further step on the slippery slide to Sodom & Gomorrah’. It has nothing to do with ‘morality’. What they want, via a plebiscite, is the opportunity to measure the number of currently pro-LNP voters (either committed or swinging) in their particular electorates who might change their vote away from them in the next election if they’re seen to support SSM, regardless of an even resounding ‘yes’ vote for it. It’s all about keeping their seats on the gravy train, and nothing else matters.

      Liked by 1 person

      • doug quixote September 27, 2016 at 1:13 pm #

        The said MPs are frightened they may lose preselection. The USA experience is that moderates and liberals are targeted by reactionaries of the Right, and the organisational discipline of the authoritarians is not surprisingly superior to that of the Left, a far more disparate collective; rather like the proverbial herd of cats.

        Liked by 1 person

        • paul walter. September 28, 2016 at 11:38 am #

          Yes.. this purging fascism dates to Southern Baptist conference types Jerry Fallwell in the eighties and that idiot Pat Robertson.

          Liked by 1 person

  6. doug quixote September 27, 2016 at 10:32 am #

    Rules for Rorting:

    1. Don’t get caught.
    2. If caught, plead ignorance.
    3. Once caught and duly ignorant, pay it back immediately (preferably earlier).
    4. Once caught, ignorant and paid back, plead for forgiveness and promise
    eternal compliance (God’s help optional).

    Meanwhile, have colleagues point at opponents’ failures at every mention.

    Like

    • townsvilleblog September 27, 2016 at 1:01 pm #

      dq (God’s help optional). self delusion won’t help mate. It’s corporate welfare that has to be completely gotten rid of, why are we dishing out taxpayers money to profitable companies and corporations? Cut it all immediately!

      Liked by 1 person

      • doug quixote September 27, 2016 at 1:14 pm #

        I’d start with private schools. Remove all state funding.

        Take them over as and when they collapse.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Jennifer Wilson September 27, 2016 at 1:55 pm #

        And the bloody churches need to start paying tax

        Liked by 1 person

      • Moz of Yarramulla September 28, 2016 at 12:20 pm #

        If we put the same conditions on corporate welfare, and took the same approach to rorting… wouldn’t things be different?

        Liked by 1 person

        • Jennifer Wilson September 29, 2016 at 3:48 pm #

          Yes!!
          Nut as a friend of mine said, only a blowtorch from the media will cause any real change in rorting. It would have to be at the legislative level, as laws are too generous.
          Can’t see politicians passing legislation that in any way inconveniences them, especially financial, unless there’s a huge public backlash

          Like

  7. townsvilleblog September 27, 2016 at 12:59 pm #

    I support Steve Irons MP, corporate welfare, cut it, cut it all!

    Like

  8. doug quixote September 28, 2016 at 8:33 am #

    Mirror On The Wall: Good morning Malcolm. First time you’ve come to see
    yourself since the election, is it not?

    Face in the Mirror: Well, the only thing I really want to know from you,
    you won’t tell me!

    Mirror : You know the rules, I can’t snitch on Abbott, he being a
    former owner.

    Face: I won the election! I have a mandate! [Waves arms about]

    Mirror: You haven’t asked who’s the most handsome Prime
    Minister of all.

    Face: Why bother. That Julian Trudeau looks pretty, but I’m
    the noblest, the cleverest, the most upright and most
    principled leader ever born to the human race.

    Mirror: And modest as well. (aside: you certainly wave your arms
    about very convincingly)

    Face: Of course. And the UN hung upon my every word, and
    they all applauded loudly!

    Mirror: (aside: at least the 20 who were there, out of 200+)

    Face: Is anyone plotting to remove me?

    Mirror: You can’t catch me out like that. I can’t say.

    Face: Well what about the Nazi wing – Bernardi, Abetz, Andrews,
    Dutton, Christ-in-shitty-napkins-sen? Morrison?

    Mirror: I thought you wanted something you didn’t know already?

    Face: Haha. But what are they plotting?

    Mirror: Have you heard of Julius Caesar?

    Malcolm? . . . Malcolm? . . . (is he breathing?)

    Like

  9. paul walter. September 28, 2016 at 11:40 am #

    I think Jennifer Wilson may derive a little consolation for confirmation, with this following article.

    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2016/sep/28/cutting-welfare-to-fund-tax-cuts-for-top-earners-unconscionable-coalition-told

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jennifer Wilson September 29, 2016 at 3:54 pm #

      Yes, thanks PW, I was somewhat heartened

      They are a bunch of swine, these LNP thieves. I doubt they’ll listen to anyone on this.

      Like

  10. Hypo September 28, 2016 at 7:41 pm #

    Welfare Mothers Make Better Lovers

    Like

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  1. Truth to power. Part One. | No Place For Sheep - September 29, 2016

    […] this to the relative lack of interest in pursuing Steve Irons, the WA Turnbull government MP who stole taxpayer money to pay travel expenses for himself and his new wife to their wedding in Melbourne and back to […]

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