Crikey: The Crown fix is in

Via Bernard Keane:

Crown is always good for a decent chunk of change for the Victorian and WA branches on both sides. So instead of a parliamentary inquiry, Labor and the government were content with Attorney-General Christian Porter referring the whole thing to the Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity (ACLEI).

This means the matter will go precisely nowhere. The ACLEI is the reason why so many people outside the major political parties — until 2018, when Bill Shorten committed Labor to a federal anti-corruption body — think we need a federal ICAC: it’s hopelessly inadequate.

The tiny law enforcement anti-corruption body has long been the subject of the criticism that it is so too small. It has to second staff from the agencies it is meant to investigate in order to carry out investigations — which it has to pick and choose from because it is too small to investigate everything that is referred to it. Since then the funding of the ACLEI has been increased marginally, but it continues to operate with an appropriation of around $11.5 million annually and a staff of just 54.

A highly critical ANAO report into the efficiency of the ACLEI last year concluded “the ANAO has not been able to conclude whether ACLEI has been operating efficiently” because “ACLEI has not measured, benchmarked or reported on its efficiency in detecting, investigating and preventing corrupt conduct”, nor did it “assess its operational efficiency against its own past performance or other organisations. The ANAO’s analysis indicates that the efficiency of ACLEI’s investigation activities requires particular improvement, including to address growth in the number of investigations commenced compared to the number of investigations completed.”

Worse: the ACLEI’s remit is highly limited. It can only examine criminal conduct by law enforcement officials — not ordinary public servants, and particularly not ministers and staffers. It is unable to examine corrupt conduct — that is, conduct that doesn’t meet the test of criminality but which involves adversely affecting the honest and impartial exercise of official functions by officials, a breach of the public trust or misuse of information for someone’s benefit. State anti-corruption bodies like ICAC all have the power to investigate corrupt conduct but no federal body does.

The benefit of referral of the Crown allegations to the ACLEI is that, if true, it would almost certainly involve corrupt conduct, not criminality, and the ACLEI — even if it had the resources to properly investigate — would wash its hands of the matter. And in any event, no politician or staffer can be investigated anyway. It’s the ideal investigation for political parties worried about their extensive links to a powerful company — completely unthreatening.

Go Straya.

David Llewellyn-Smith
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  1. Should’ve bet on property… oh wait – 2 collapses in a month!

    Hedge fund puts developer Steller into receivership

    Steller Group, which once commanded a $4.2 billion pipeline of apartment, aged care and commercial projects spread across Melbourne, collapsed into receivership on Tuesday, marking one of the biggest developer collapses since the global financial crisis. Like Becton Group, which collapsed in 2013 after being unable to meet its debt obligations, Steller’s ultimate downfall was its reliance on expensive debt provided by Hong Kong and Singapore hedge fund OCP Asia.

    Sydney property developer Ralan collapses

    One of the country’s biggest private developers, Sydney-based Ralan Group has collapsed leaving billions of dollars of East Coast apartment projects and hundreds of jobs in doubt. Founded and led by William O’Dwyer, the developer appointed Said Jahani, Phil-Campbell Wilson and Graham Killer from Grant Thornton as voluntary administrators on Tuesday.

    Ralan Group’s pipeline of projects includes the $1.4 billion four-tower Ruby Collection project on the Gold Coast with 1600 apartments and another big project in Arncliffe in Sydney’s southern suburbs, which is currently under construction.

  2. SchillersMEMBER

    The other crucial weakness of referring the Crown Affair to the ACLEI is that they are forbidden, by statute, to ask any questions of any employee or any official or any client of Crown Casino.

    Brilliant. That’s sure to get the bottom of it.

    • The Beetrooter Advocate

      That’s the Zen form of criminal investigation.

      A bit like The memory of water.

  3. You F*ckn serious ! The golden child James Packer has politicians all in his back pocket, they don’t have the balls to take him on, all paid and taken care of. Even the Cops call the place the “Vatican” ……….this is Australia’s largest Gangster, with a license to print money. Why do think its taken so long for the story to go mainstream ? Gave him a chance to distance himself from Crown and now he says hes got mental health issues. LOL
    This will be worse than the Royal Commission into Banking.

    • It’s amazing isn’t it? From the get go crown has been a hub for criminals. I remember how scummy Heat nightclub was back in the late 90s early 2000s.

  4. This is positively disgusting.

    Meanwhile at the government’s behest the AFP cracks down on journos like terrorists.