Vituperative attacks, misogyny, white-anting: life fighting corruption

Everyone loves the idea of a corruption-fighting agency, just not an effective one, says the head of Western Australia’s Corruption and Crime Commission, with Megan Latham’s treatment smelling of misogyny. And he’s just warming up.

The jailing of disgraced former NSW politician and Labor factional warlord Eddie Obeid may have roused applause from all political quarters, but those on the frontline of fighting corruption are warning their job is getting much harder and far more unpleasant.

Just a fortnight before Obeid was finally taken down into the cells, Australia’s corruption-fighting chiefs celebrated International Anti-Corruption Day, an occasion dedicated to exposing serious crimes that undermine social and economic development in all societies.

In a speech to mark the occasion in Australia, John McKechnie QC, the Commissioner of Western Australia’s Corruption and Crime Commission, painted what must rate as one of the bleakest pictures to date of the struggle faced by those charged with keeping government clean.

“Everyone loves the idea of a corruption agency. I am not so sure though that everyone loves an effective corruption agency to the same degree,” McKechnie told a breakfast gathering of public officials and corporate executives, before detailing the headwinds he and many of his peers face.

FREE membership to The Mandarin

Receive unlimited access, get all the latest public sector news and features, plus The Juice, our daily news update sent direct to your inbox.

The Mandarin is where Australia's public sector leaders discuss their work and the issues faced within modern bureaucracy. Join today to discover the latest in public administration thinking and news from our dedicated reporters, current and former agency heads and senior executives.

  • Geoff Edwards

    Thanks Julian and John McKechnie.

    The reference to “a powerful media organisation” has a lot of explanatory power. Given that organisation’s “sustained attack”, it seems unnecessary to seek an explanation in misogyny! A sustained attack by a media organisation can cause a lot of mud to stick.