The Bling Ring

Why you won't be getting a federal ICAC.


It’s not about the fancy watches. It’s not even about the way Australia Post got turned into a cash machine for bizoid grifters. Yes, it makes the head go boing to think of your local posties getting Oprahed with a bag full of Cartier merch.

But it wasn’t your local postie getting greased at the end of financial year, was it? It wasn’t the minimum wage casual workers in the mail processing centres. And it sure as hell wasn’t the poor bastards grinding away in your nearest strip mall post office, which increasingly resembles a two dollar pop-up shop from the dodgier end of the sketchapotamus bazaar.

This week’s Cartier Bonus was, of course, a purely executive privilege, specifically a gift from a grateful AusPost CEO Christine Holgate to four executives who put the hours in “brokering a deal with Australian banks to set up banking services at Australia Post offices.”

The deal is undeniably a good get for Aussie Post and for all those smaller towns and suburbs which have lost their local bank branches in the downsizing apocalypse of the last twenty years. But I doubt those four execs worked much harder than, say, the four women who staff my neighbourhood post office. Maybe they worked longer hours, but they got paid a metric shit ton more for that, and there’s no way, hour-to-hour that they put in a bigger effort.

And while the Cartier payday blew up because it looks so utterly perverse, the value of the premium watches was a tiny golden shower from a remunerative micropenis compared to the geyser of executive largesse that normally rains down on Australia Post’s boss level griftocracy. It was only September ago (granted that’s 800 years in Covid Time) that these guys were caught out trying to pay themselves seven million dollars in bonuses, having promised to keep their fingers out of the bonus biscuit tin this year as their contribution to the collective sacrifice of meeting and defeating Miss Rona.

For extra delicious ironic detachment from reality, they unpromised their zero bonus commitment at the same time as they were ‘encouraging’ Victorian postal workers to ‘volunteer’ to deliver parcels in their own cars to keep up with increased demand caused by the pandemic.

So, you know…

But the tell in how quickly the government threw the switch to shock and condemnation, was how quickly their performative outrage didn’t spill across to the big reveal that Liberal Party donors had trousered thirty million dollarydoos for a scrap of land worth three million at Badgery’s Creek.

To put that in perspective, it’s not four inexplicable Cartier Watches.

It’s ten thousand of them.

The same back pocket tingle that Rupert Murdoch enjoyed when the very same government flicked him a lazy thirty million for…

Lady sports? Was it something to do with lady sports?

Nobody knows. And nobody ever will.

Because the sudden buzz around the idea of setting up a federal ICAC isn’t a sign of growing enthusiasm for the idea of setting up a federal ICAC. It’s the sound of ScoMo and Co grinding their teeth waiting for this desperate unpleasantness to pass. The last time they got in trouble—or should have got in trouble, because let’s not confuse what is with what should be—they were also loitering in sports-related areas. Specifically those areas where a bloke might get caught out by the Auditor shovelling hundreds of millions of dollars of somebody else’s money (spoiler: it was yours) into their own electorates because, well, who’s gonna stop them?

Not the attorney general, who’s been sitting on recommendations to spin up a federal anti-corruption body since late last year. Morrison bristled at any suggestion that he might be slow-rolling the issue because any such body would be certain to gorge itself on the all-you-can buffet of his shady fucking government’s non-competent sketchfest of Nigerian Prince level douchebaggery, even if it never got beyond Angus Taylor’s office.

The government hadn’t moved, Morrison said, because at first he’d been so busy fighting last year’s apocalyptic bushfires—from a beachside bar in Hawaii, presumably. And then of course there was a global pandemic and the full resources of the Commonwealth had to be focussed on the defeating Australia’s deadliest enemy; Dan Andrews.

The Australian National Audit Office, which provides a de facto anti-corruption service, has just explained to Senate Estimates that it will be doing less of that in future, sorry, because the perfidious Morrison slashed their budget like a vengeful cut-purse.

Not that I would dare suggest ScoMo is a vindictive little shit who was always going to avenge himself on the Auditor for embarrassing him with that whole sports rorts thing.

But none of this suggests a Federal ICAC lies anywhere in our future.

Not even the last minute revelation (like seriously, I just read about it a minute ago) that Australian Securities and Investments Commission chairman James Shipton claimed nearly a hundred and twenty grand from the public kitty for… er, getting his tax done. A service available to you, me and your local postal worker for $59.00 from any number of reputable online tax agents.