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Byron Shire
June 16, 2024

Editorial: Too busy conforming

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As a nation, we are a fairly compliant lot. The Rum Rebellion in 1808 was probably an exception; it was the first time that Australian military force was used to overthrow a government.

Then there was the 1851 Eureka Rebellion, where gold miners revolted against the British.

Former Labor PM Bob Hawke got a bit cheeky later on in 1983, when he said everyone should have the day off when we won the America’s Cup.

There’s a lot of conformity going on these days. And that’s disappointing, because all the great advances in the world occur when we don’t do what we are supposed to. 

Musician Frank Zappa once said, ‘Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible’.

The wrong people are being persecuted

With that in mind, there are questions about the integrity of federal Labor around its persecution of whistleblowers. 

One is former tax office employee, Richard Boyle, who faces life behind bars for speaking his truth around his former employer’s unethical behaviour. 

The ABC reported this week, ‘In March, the former Australian Tax Office employee lost his bid to be declared immune from prosecution on 24 offences stemming from his decision to go public on what he claims were unethical tactics used by his former employer to collect debts’.

ABC business editor Ian Verrender writes, ‘Ironically, Mr Boyle’s Federal Court decision came just weeks after Peter Collins, the former senior tax partner at Big Four accounting giant PwC, was barred from practising by the Tax Practitioners Board’.

Collins is accused of sharing confidential tax information in the organisation about a federal government initiative to clamp down on multinational tax avoidance. 

As a result, Tom Seymour, chief executive officer of PwC, was forced to step down last week.

So given this revelation, will Labor sack PwC as a consultant? 

PwC holds very, very lucrative government contracts, after all. 

It’s the ethical thing to do. 

It could repair the reputational damage and send a message that integrity matters for everyone.

Another whistleblower who is under government persecution is Australian army lawyer, David McBride. He gave the ABC evidence of war crimes committed by Australian soldiers in Afghanistan.

Julian Assange still in a UK jail

And perhaps the bravest journalist of all time, Julian Assange, is still in a UK jail, and so far, the Labor government appears not that interested in his plight.

While politicians might say they value journalism and that whistle-blowers should be protected, the actions don’t add up 

There is one species that appears  protected from dubious ethical actions – it’s career bureaucrats, such as Kathryn Campbell.

She was Secretary of the Department of Human Services and implicated in the Robodebt disaster, which resulted in deaths. 

Instead of being held to account or sacked, she was rewarded by Labor with a $900,000 a year job to help orchestrate the obscene AUKUS deal, according to www.theguardian.com.

Hans Lovejoy, editor


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6 COMMENTS

  1. The whistleblowers you mention Hans were prosecuted under the previous government and they are now in the hands of the courts. Last I heard we still valued the separation of powers in this country.

    Julian Assange – on what do you base your statement that they “appear not that interested in his plight”. What sources tell you this and that statements about “megaphone diplomacy” are a ruse.

    I’m happy to call Assange a whistle blower but I’ve always thought “journalist” was a bit of a stretch. I didn’t think dumping documents without analysis or commentary quite made the grade, but then strange standards seem to pass as journalism these days.

    Break contracts with a firm because of the actions of one employee who is being dealt with?

    “ There’s a lot of conformity going on these days …” yeah what exactly did you have in mind? “

    And that’s disappointing, because all the great advances in the world occur when we don’t do what we are supposed to.” ALL – big statement. And sometimes disasters happen when we don’t do what we are supposed to” this statement is so generalised and platitudinous as to be meaningless.

    By all means keep authority accountable and “shame the devil” Hans but pump for a hint of balance in the Echo’s political editorial stance.

  2. Wow love joy stay up to date about the current government and Assange. Maybe more care in checking out what’s happening in that area would help.

  3. Its those career bureaucrats and politicians who are responsible for the looming health crisis. Unaccounted death from a vaccine with severe side effects, ordered by the government for its people. In Germany alone there are 85 000 excess deaths, the number in the US even higher. In Australia the Government does its best to suppress the numbers by the bureau of statistics. Excess deaths is at record high of 13% or 18.671 deaths with no explanation given. Mass murder on a gigantic scale.

  4. I neither conform nor consent, and the sheeple attack us for it. During the panicdemic, I had one get physical with me. That’s what this country has become.

  5. If the Government allows a development on a known floodplain and some people drown as a result who goes to jail?

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