Remember the Special Minister of State in the Hawke Labour Government, the late Mick Young?
Yes I know that was ages ago, early to mid 1980s to be precise. In 1984 poor old Mick forgot to declare a stuffed "Paddington Bear" to Customs and he stood aside while the matter was investigated. Yes it was trivial but back then ministers had to uphold high standards.
Slightly more serious was Sports Minister Ros Kelly and the Whiteboard Affair in 1994 when she had to resign for misleading parliament after the Auditor General criticised her departments handling of a $30 million sports grants program (sound familiar?).
John Howard lost 6 or 7 ministers in his first term all for seemingly minor misdemeanours. Maybe the bar was set too high in those days but we now seem to have gone full circle.
Ministerial responsibility seems to have disappeared from our Government.
The last minister to fall on his sword was the Mallee Root, Andrew Broad.
Think of the scandals engulfing Michaelia Cash (Raids on the AWU offices), Matthias Cormann ( air tickets supplied by a company holding lucrative Government contracts) and Angus Taylor (Watergate and Grassgate affairs) to name only a few.
(See link below for my article on the need for an ICAC)
So the latest scandal involves deputy National Party leader, Bridget McKenzie.
The blatant rorting of the $100 million Community Sport Infrastructure Program to favour marginal or Coalition held seats is little short of outrageous.
They all do it, I hear you say, but tell that to the volunteers who spent countless hours of their own time preparing a submission for their sporting organisation only to find they were knocked back because another "more deserving" sporting organization in a marginal electorate won funding. Think $500,000 to the Mossman Rowing Club in the richest (Tony Abbotts) electorate in Australia, think over $1 million on grants in Corangamite to sandbag Sarah Henderson's seat.
What Bridget McKenzie has done is slap these volunteers and Sports Australia in the face by using taxpayers money to buy votes to keep their snouts in the trough.
I would be interested to see if the Shepparton News would do some digging to see if any local sporting organisations applied for these grants and were overlooked in favour of a less deserving marginal electorate.
But we shouldn't expect Bridget McKenzie to resign or be sacked, Scott Morrison has form in this area and it doesn't run to ministerial accountability.
The ethics of our parliamentarians is at an all time low and I can't see it being raised any time soon.
Perhaps if we had a Federal ICAC ( "Independant Commission Against Corruption") it would force these politicians to at least be accountable, even if they don't understand what it means to behave in an ethical manner.
Don't expect one any time soon!