Endemic corruption within medical research is of no concern to government, since the issues previously raised have been put to Health Ministers and even to PM Turnbull. Without a response. Few have the integrity to whistleblow, due to lack of both regulatory authority and legal protection. After all, there’d be no shortage of backfill for your position upon dismissal from the increasing numbers of vulnerable foreign workers on tenure of a temporary visa. The blue bar charted shows post-docs, paid the same as a burger-flipper while Australia trains them in our wily ways. Employment Minister Eric Abetz denied existence of this scam in correspondence of 16th Sep ’15, despite a University advising “The Department of Immigration and Border Protection has limited the value of the living assistance which can be provided by the University to subclass 402 – research stream visa holders. The maximum contribution by the University to living expenses is approximately $34,000 per annum (at October 2012); this amount may alter on an annual basis.”
This matter has been raised with Immigration Minister Peter Dutton several times, but the office has never responded. Wouldn’t he be concerned about history judging him harshly, should the truth ever come out regarding misconduct? Uhh, no. Already looking at a pension of 1/6th of a million dollars annually, that means his CV needn’t be without a fault or three. Even if it’s already blemished by his previous portfolio as Health Minister resulting in his poll ‘win’ from Australian Doctor magazine as being the worst performer in its 35 year history. No remorse at that failure either – last months confrontation with doctors of Lady Cilento childrens hospital showed his contempt for human rights also.
Your vote comes with no guarantee of governance, as there’s no accountability for policy made up on the fly. President of the amoral AMA turned politician, Dr Brendan Nelson, surprised both the Air Force and Defence Materiel by purchasing $7bn in Super Hornets from ex-parliamentary colleague Andrew Peacock, then a Boeing salesman. “It just flawed me … there was no independent analysis,” recalls AVM Peter Criss, a retired Air Commander of Australia. John Howard approved the suggestion in 2006 without seeking expert opinion, and far from showing remorse for events as they’ve unfolded is instead reveling in regularly being voted Australia’s best PM by Murdoch press conducted polls. That’s despite being outed as a liar regarding ‘children overboard’ by Admiral (rtd) Ritchie, onetime Chief of Navy.
The first planes were delivered in 2010, but six years later we’re still investing heavily in a future around the Joint Strike Fighters (JSF). That’s a project we’d supported by pre-purchasing 100, but both the budget and time were wasted during the cocaine-fuelled ‘nought-ies’ (the era which led to the GFC). Both aircraft are already outclassed by the Russian SU-30 & 35s purchased by five SE-Asian neighbours. “This thing [Super Hornet] will not survive in a fight now in our region,” says Criss. While the JSF struggles to achieve operational readiness, the SU ‘Flanker’ continues to evolve.
If Brendan ‘need for speed’ Nelson didn’t know what he was doing (he dropped out of his economics degree), nor do we know what they’re thinking. There’s a Senate inquiry into the JSF concluding in May 2016, but a previous report is pertinent “… the arguments are of a highly technical nature and much of the data necessary to form an understanding of the performance of the JSF is classified and not available for public scrutiny“. The quid pro quo of political understandings with business here doesn’t work so well strategically however. Regardless of commitments to JSF, or however many M1A1 battle tanks Howard purchased, it’s been made crystal clear that our new “best friends” are Japan. Regional instability as a consequence of South China Sea conflict won’t be America’s problem, even if they are the trigger.
The secrecy that allows medical research to fester is the cause of the problem here, too. Any misconduct in national affairs remains secret, and public servants intending to whistleblow should pay heed to Sn 70(2) of the Crimes Act, 1914: A person who, having been a Commonwealth officer, publishes or communicates, without lawful authority or excuse (proof whereof shall lie upon him), any fact or document which came to his knowledge, or into his possession, by virtue of his office, and which, at the time when he ceased to be a Commonwealth officer, it was his duty not to disclose, shall be guilty of an offence.
Penalty: Imprisonment for two years.
The USA, on the other hand, rewards with a payment up to 10% of the public monies recovered.