Sports rorts just tip of normalised corruption iceberg

January 30, 2020
National Party deputy leader Bridget McKenzie spent $20,000 of taxpayers' money on a private jet to an ice hockey game.

The sports rorts scandal engulfing National Party deputy leader Bridget McKenzie has shone a light on the deeply corrupt nature of the federal Coalition government. While McKenzie may end up being made a scapegoat, the government has been left exposed as an agent of its super-rich friends.

McKenzie is under fire for the disbursement of $100 million in grants during her time as sports minister, which favoured sports clubs in Coalition-held or targeted marginal seats just months out from the previous election.

McKenzie has form when it comes to rorting the system. She spent $20,000 of taxpayers' money on a private jet to an ice hockey game and $14,000 on a chartered flight to meet Prince Charles in 2018 alone.

But #SportsGate is just a modest part of an integrated government-business superstructure built on corruption.

The privatisation of public assets, the handover of taxpayers’ money to corporations in the guise of private-public partnerships and the revolving door between government boards and corporate management are all part of the normalised corruption the system runs on.

The brazen nature of the sports rorts affair has highlighted one aspect of the corruption at the heart of our system of governance.

The community is clearly outraged. More than 50% of respondents to a recent Guardian Essential poll believed Prime Minister Scott Morrison should have sacked the former sports minister over her handling of the $100 million sports rorts affair.

Only 15% backed Morrison's decision to support his Coalition colleague.

The poll also showed 80% support for the formation of an independent federal anti-corruption body, similar to the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption.

Labor, the Greens and Senate crossbenchers have demanded McKenzie resign or be sacked. They have foreshadowed a Senate inquiry into #SportsGate when parliament resumes in February.

Meanwhile, Morrison has handballed the issue to the head of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet to prepare a report into the affair as he desperately tries to figure out how to sideline the issue.

Too late. The scandal, coming on top of the national bushfire catastrophe — a political disaster for Morrison — is proving to be a serious headache for Morrison. And it will not be the last, as his government desperately tries to prop up a system in terminal decline.

Whether it is corruption scandals, economic crises or ecological disasters, the only way out is by replacing this dying capitalist system with a sustainable, ecosocialist society.

"Change the system, not the climate," is a prominent slogan of the climate justice movement. Green Left campaigns week in and week out for this goal. But we can only do it with your help.

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