15 October 2020

Bernard Keane on the latest ICAC inquiry as the tip of a huge, corrupt iceberg: “Maguire was a two-bit huckster, most of whose endless schemes failed to come off, though not for want of trying. But he was playing the same game played by far bigger, far more successful business and political figures across Australia: rigging the rules for their own benefit. Australian business and politics is pervaded with the mentality that regulations are not to be adhered to but gamed, and if necessary changed by influencing those who make them, and intimidating, overriding or litigating those who enforce them. … Wherever you look, across different industries, even major corporations have profoundly flawed cultures and poor accountability that are only reactively addressed when an external intervention threatens. … They reflect a political culture in which compliant politicians are paid by donors to soften regulation in the name of slashing red tape, help companies, and underfund and disempower regulators where they can. Maguire is only the crude, sordid end of a continuum that extends all the way to the Prime Minister’s office and the board rooms of some of our biggest companies, which encourages a culture of making the gaming of regulatory outcomes the core business model of major corporations.”