About 20 years ago Australia was captivated and appalled by the secret footage of a bunch of senior Sydney police openly talking about taking bribes and collaborating with drug dealers in the crooked Kings Cross command.
Coppers such as Detective Graham “Chook” Fowler and his sidekick Inspector Trevor Haken became household names. Secret cameras caught police receiving cash kickbacks worth thousands of dollars, often stuffed into boots. “Hooley f…ing dooley,” a crooked copper was heard saying on one of the tapes, “I didn’t know you could get so much into an RM Williams.”
The revelations forced the NSW police royal commission and prompted other states to examine their police forces to make sure no such corruption existed there. In SA there was no such inquiry as the police had just undergone a thorough anti-corruption investigation, Operation Hygiene, in which one copper was busted for stealing a punnet of strawberries, another for pinching a bag of potting mix. To paraphrase the great journalist and author Cyril Pearl, one day someone will write the full story of Australian roguery, and every state will play a part, but undoubtedly NSW will steal the show.
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Voters are a smart lot and can readily distinguish between state and federal issues come polling time. But there are significant issues at play in Australia’s two most populous states, NSW and Victoria, which go to the perception of the major parties and their fitness to govern.
As things currently stand the 2013 election result could come down to this question – can the ALP’s widely anticipated drubbing in NSW, where the ALP brand has been trashed, be offset by gains in Victoria, where the Baillieu Government is seen as a massive disappointment and where voters are already indicating a willingness to trust Labor again?
The easiest job in advertising right now would be to devise the negative campaign against Labor in NSW. This most degenerate of branches has itself provided such a rich vein of material.
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There are more former ministers in the NSW Government than there are ministers. Fourteen of them to be exact.
One of them is in Long Bay for plying youths with heroin and having sex with them in his parliamentary office.
The other 13 aren’t bad people. They’re just guilty of a combination of hubris, sloth, incompetence and stupidity, and stand as examples of what can happen when a government has been in power for so long that it can’t remember what it was originally there for.
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