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Governing corruption

Kendall, G. and Wickham, G. (1991) Governing corruption. Australian Left Review (134). pp. 20-22.

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    Abstract

    Corruption is with us. The WA Inc Royal Commission and its media coverage parallel Queensland's Fitzgerald Inquiry which itself had echoes of the inquiry into the Askin government of New South Wales. And so on. In other words, the WA Commission and the stories surrounding it are part of a tradition of government in Australia, hardly a noble tradition, but a tradition nonetheless: our governments, it seems, are constantly under threat from corruption.

    The inquiries and the stories would have us believe corruption is a cancer. Unless we, the voters, act as a surgeon, urging healthy living on our governments and cutting out the cancer quickly whenever it appears, the consequences will be dire. We know enough to know we're not alone in the fight against this disease. Italy, Japan and the US from among the democratic countries, and just about all the falling communist countries, are acknowledged to be fighting it as well. We wish them well (sort of) though no one is too surprised when a government, a system, or even an entire nation has to be buried because of the disease and the surrounding area fumigated in its wake.

    We also know enough to know that corruption is hardly a new problem. The Roman emperor Augustus, for example, identified the corruption of the empire as the major target of his new governmental program, although he can hardly be said to have succeeded. Ultimately, so our mythology has it, the Roman Empire was destroyed by decadence and corruption. Our fear is that we are going the same way.

    Publication Type: Journal Article
    Murdoch Affiliation: School of Social Sciences and Humanities
    Publisher: Red Pen Publications
    URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/8397
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