Scott Morrison’s is the most corrupt federal government the nation has ever seen. This assertion is increasingly appearing in the media. And while it’s the kind of statement one could easily dismiss as something that’s said about any government in office, in this case, there’s more to it.
Take Australia’s rating in the latest Corruption Perceptions Index. Our nation ranked as the 18th least corrupt nation out of a total of 180 last year, which sounds fairly high up the scale, until you consider that the year prior we sat at number 11.
Transparency International began ranking nations in 1995, in an attempt to “stop corruption and promote transparency”. That year saw our nation hold 7th position on the scale, which reflects perceived levels of public sector corruption based on assessment by experts and opinion surveys.
Last year also saw Australia receive its lowest ever corruption score. The nation got a rating of 73 out of 100. This was a drop of four points on the year prior: down from 77, which is where it had sat since Turnbull’s time. But, back when Gillard was in office, our nation warranted a score of 85.
So, what could it possibly be that’s led our nation to take a dive in terms of integrity? Well, for a start, there are multiple pork barrelling scandals.
In early 2020, the sports rorts affair was uncovered, which saw the government hand over millions to unapproved projects in marginal seats and targeted electorates in the lead up to the last election, while June 2021 saw another report find that it did exactly the same in terms of carpark funding.
Further, Morrison promised to establish an anticorruption watchdog in late 2018. And when his attorney general finally delivered a proposal two years later, it was a model that involved closed-door public sector inquiries.
Although, the PM eventually shelved the idea and blamed the opposition for it.
On the international scale, last September saw Morrison deliver his best piece of work when he publicly announced a nuclear submarine deal with the US, which simultaneously signalled that we were pulling out of a 2016 submarine deal with the French, without warning them beforehand.
This led the French president to publicly call our PM a liar. Morrison tried to deny this by leaking personal text messages between him and Emmanuel Macron to refute it. But then US President Joe Biden told the French leader that he too had been misled by our PM about how the situation stood.
A master of belligerence
Morrison’s time in office has not only been marked by a lack of transparency and accountability, but rape scandals too. His former attorney general was accussed of an historic sexual assault, while a staffer was allegedly raped in the defence minister’s office, and the MP then covered up the crime.
Despite their tainted reputations, both ministers were allowed to remain in Morrison’s cabinet and were gifted different portfolios as the prime minister attempted to bury the scandals without any further deliberations on the alleged crimes.
While, just last month, the Open Government Partnership wrote to the PM’s office, to warn that his government has failed to deliver our nation’s 2021-23 transparency and accountability action plan, and if we don’t step up, Australia will be turfed out of the anti-corporation alliance.
A reputation for honesty and integrity isn’t easy to establish. Rather, it takes time. However, destroying a good reputation is done with ease.
Indeed, if our PM has achieved anything in his time in office, it’s been the decimation of our international standing. And sadly, Morrison will get to walk away from the leadership role, leaving it in tatters and it will be up to the succession of next prime ministers to hopefully restore it.