The Unshackled Waves Ep. 124 Australian Politics Returns

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This week we saw Australian politics return in a big way with some major developments that will shape the 2018 political year. To discuss them we invited back on the show social media personality and Vlogger Libby DownUnder.

We learned some disturbing detail about the federal government’s proposed foreign interference laws. Any donation made to a political advocacy group over $250 a year will require a statutory declaration from a justice of the peace, this will apply to any group spending more than $100,000 on potential election issues. The government argues these laws are needed to stop foreign money influencing Australian politics but are clearly designed to hinder left wing activist groups like GetUp. GetUp have found an unlikely ally in their fight against these laws the free market think tank the Institute of Public Affairs. The laws will have the effect of crippling grassroots campaigning and lobbying will only be able to be conducted by the powerful and connected.

Bill Shorten proposed a National Integrity Commission which would operate as a federal version of New South Wales’ Independent Commission Against Corruption. It would look at politicians expenses, public servants’ conduct and political donations. It would have all the powers of a standing royal commission. However ICAC has had its problems with the persecution Margaret Cunneen SC but successfully investigated former Labor Minister Eddie Obed and Ian McDonald. The politics of the matter however is the National Integrity Commission will be created if not before Labor being elected with Turnbull eventually caving into public pressure which is supportive of such a proposal.

The humorous political story of the week was the revelation of the Cabinet Files. Two filing cabinets full of sensitive government documents ended up being sold at a Canberra op shop for small change since they were locked with no key. They were eventually attacked with a drill and the discovered documents came into the hands of the ABC who drip fed the information to the public throughout the week. There was debate over if the ABC should have published them however embarrassments to governments should never be covered up.

Labor MP David Feeney became the latest MP to resign due to dual citizenship as he could not find his citizenship renunciation documents. There will now be a by-election in his seat of Batman in inner Melbourne. Feeney is not re-contesting, ACTU President Ged Kearney will be Labor’s candidate up against the Greens. Labor in their desperation to save the seat will lurch to the left in the campaign. It would be embarrassing for Shorten if they lose this seat and he has also been exposed as a liar as he told us Labor’s vetting was thorough.

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