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  • P D Jonson

Saturday Sanity Break, 30 November 2019 – Australian crooks.

Updated: May 1, 2020

Last week’s Blog stirred unusual comments from readers, mostly pleased I had opened the subject.

Today I list Australian Royal Commissions since the year 2000. Also listed are various poor or illegal activities that come to mind from recent news items or casual observation. Overall, the list of twenty-one things makes most people feel disappointed about lack of ethics and frequent bad behaviour in modern Australian business and related activities.

  1. Royal Commission into HIH Insurance (2001–2003)

  2. Royal Commission into the Building and Construction Industry (2001–2003)

  3. Royal Commission to Inquire into the Centenary House Lease (2004)

  4. Inquiry into certain Australian companies in relation to the UN Oil-For-Food Programme (2005–2006)

  5. Equine Influenza Inquiry (2008)

  6. Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse (2013–2017)

  7. Royal Commission into the Home Insulation Program (2013–2014)

  8. Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption (2014–2015)

  9. Royal Commission into the Child Protection and Youth Detention Systems of the Government of the Northern Territory (2016–2017)

  10. Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry (2017–2019)

  11. Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety (2018–present)

  12. Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability (2019–present)

As well as Australian wide Royal Commissions, of course, there are State Commissions and ad hoc issues from time to time. (Some of these may turn into Royal commissions of course.) The list below is the ad hoc items that caught Henry’s eye in recent months.

  1. Horse Racing – inadequate horses have been sent to abattoirs, against rules of racing.

  2. Illicit sexual activity with children by churchmen, other institutional leaders and at schools.

  3. Gross underpayment of wages in many small and medium businesses.

  4. Illegal immigrants gaming the system to get backdoor entrance to the Australian mainland. (The fault of the political process more than the would be immigrants.)

  5. Unnecessary deaths or injuries caused by drivers out of their heads with Ice, other drugs.

  6. There seems to this writer to be increasing numbers of rapes, often followed by murders.

  7. Housebreaking by thieves, many out of their minds with Ice or other drugs.

  8. Excessive wages and bonuses for seriously incompetent business leaders, and lack of appropriate punishment in the form of large fines and or jail time.

  9. The great number of seriously incompetent business business leaders overseeing businesses and other organisations.

What is to be done?

A general point is for governments to set punishments to better fit crimes. As in Queensland, many more people who kill someone need to have a very long sentence, with far fewer examples of downgrading charges to crimes of manslaughter.

Then there is the question of incompetent business leaders. Pay and bonuses need to be moderated, and bonuses kept inside the organisation for at least 5 years after a retirement or job change, so it can be cancelled if the organisation runs into serious trouble. (There will be trouble if a competent leader is replaced by an incompetent leader, but allowance can be made for such cases via the legal framework.)

Regulatory institutions need stronger teeth and access to harsher penalties, including years of disqualification from working as managers or members of boards of listed companies.

So far, so good. Then there are seriously difficult issues. Should the law allow honest people to shoot to kill people who break into houses to steal money or goods and often beat up the owners or renters of the house? Should owning an effective weapon be illegal, or using it in the case of a home invasion? In my view, women who are required to travel on public transport at night, or in quiet parts of cities or towns, should be allowed to defend themselves also, which again raises the question of what may legally be done to defend oneself.

The question of defending oneself is very difficult. Allowing people to own and use weapons of defence would take Australia down the American path, which is not an attractive outcome. Perhaps it will be necessary to provide cans of spray that immobilise home invaders or people who attack other people in dark streets. As a father of three kids, I hate to think that they are defenceless in the face of the sort of things that evil or drugged people attempt to do. A spray to knock out the villains is one answer that might not offend the pacifists amongst us.

Here is an alternative suggestion, apparently recommended by police.


Fiona Prior sees Australian playwright and treasure Louis Nowra’s 'Così'. More here.​

Sporting life

A great win over Pakistan for our cricketing blokes. The visitors did far better in the second dig, so one naturally expects a sterner fight in the second test.

But the first innings of the second test seems to have continued the onslaught. Fits the theory that Pakistan is trying out new players with little hope of being competitive.

And in New Zealand, the locals beat the poms, which suggests that Australia may have a tough fight on their hands starting on Boxing day at the ‘G’. Henry’s older son (Bert) has tickets for the first day which one hopes will be a great start to a good series.

The Sun-Herald seems to think Caaaarlton! has recruited well so perhaps Henry is in for a better year of footy.

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