Former NSW and Victorian judges Anthony Whealy and Stephen Charles [$]: “It is regrettable that The Australian Financial Review’s editorial — Voters, not ICAC, should judge the business of politics — of November 3 should have taken a narrow view of the need for proper integrity oversight of the political process in NSW. This is a grotesque view. Voters are in no position to investigate at close quarters the minutiae of events surrounding any particular grant decision. Consider the detail of the Auditor-General’s report into the Sport Rorts scandal. Consider also the months of inquiry, the call for and collection of documents, the interviewing of witnesses, the compulsory examinations in connection with the Maguire/Berejiklian investigation. The material uncovered in both these matters, one federal and one state, emphasises how voters, left solely to their own prejudices, know little of the detailed circumstances involving ‘the business of politics’. It is laughable to suggest that voters, in the absence of independent scrutiny, are in any position to judge the lawfulness, probity and rectitude of government decisions.” It’s true that voters should judge the business of politics — but they need a range of institutions, including well-resourced independent anti-corruption commissions, to provide the information that allows them to cast an informed vote.
10 November 2021