Last Friday, NSW farewelled their premier of nearly five years, Gladys Berejiklian, after a year-long investigation by New South Wales’s corruption watchdog Independent Commission Against Corruption. Since then, tempers have flared, divisions have widened and opinions have been rolling in thick and fast. And boy, does everyone have an opinion.
The latest opinion to be thrown down is by the ever so vocal, Waleed Aly on The Project.
— The Project (@theprojecttv) October 6, 2021
Speaking with Shadow Attorney General Mark Dreyfus, who refers to ICAC as “more of a lapdog than a watchdog”, suggesting the commission needs to “start again”.
Aly says of ICAC, “It has on occasion ruined lives unnecessarily.” He then goes on to give his scathing review of the work that ICAC has done to date with his assessment summarised, “One of the interesting elements of this is ICAC is there … to give the public confidence in politicians and in the political system. But is there a danger though that it can do the opposite and ICAC may have done that by getting rid of premiers that are widely respected, seen as competent, and people who have been of integrity, seeing a premier in NSW disappear over a bottle of wine. It erodes confidence in the political system unnecessarily”.
The bottle of wine comment was in reference to former NSW Premier, Barry O’Farrel who stood down in 2014 as premier when it was revealed that ICAC was investigating a gift of a $3000 bottle of wine that wasn’t declared.
In response to the question posed by Aly, Shadow Attorney-General Dreyfus explains, “It was her choice to resign. A quite different course of action was available to her. She could have simply stood aside. Or she could have decided not to stand aside at all and undergo the investigation that’s now underway. We don’t yet know the outcome of that inquiry”.
Dreyfus stands by his argument that corruption commissions play a role in maintaining the integrity of politicians and are seen as to be a necessary part of politics in Australia.
Not surprisingly, Aly’s opinion has been met with counter opinions. One staffer at Monash University has expressed concerns over his opinions as Waleed Aly is employed by Monash.
@GardmarM Dear Ms Gardner, I respectfully ask you to see the comments recently made by Waleed Aly regarding ICAC. I think it is grossly inappropriate that a staff member from Monash University would be publicly criticising the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption.
— EndViolenceAgainstWomen. (@lroc1501) October 7, 2021
Scott Morrison weighed in shortly after Gladys resigned saying, ““Gladys is a, (meaningful pause) is a dear friend of mine.”