Federal ICAC now

Subsidies for fossil fuels: time for a little clarity

by Mark Sawyer | Sep 27, 2022 | Deceptive Conduct, QED

The federal integrity commission will be looking at malfeasance and waste great and small. It could do worse to examine – and clarify – the cost to Australians of the planet-imperilling industries, particularly coal and gas.

The cost is a recurring target of the Greens, who campaign against what leader Adam Bandt terms ”$10 billion subsidies”. That sort of scratch could certainly benefit the budget bottom line.

Whether that 10 bill is all subsidies is a matter for debate. ABC FactCheck concluded that In order to approach anything like $10 billion per year, fossil fuel subsidies would need to include fuel tax credits – but the extent to which these might be considered a “subsidy” is contested. ”The argument boils down to whether credits provide a benefit or remove a penalty,” the ABC states.

Obviously the exports of those commodities put a roof over many heads. But even if the subsidies are not as bad as Bandt claims, there must be winkles, wrinkles – and rorts. Over to you, commissioners.

What's a rort?

Conflicts of Interest

Redirecting funding to pet hobbies; offering jobs to the boys without a proper tender process; secretly bankrolling candidates in elections; taking up private sector jobs in apparent breach of parliament’s code of ethics, the list goes on.

Deceptive Conduct

Claiming that greenhouse gas emissions have gone down when the facts clearly show otherwise; breaking the law on responding to FoI requests; reneging on promised legislation; claiming credit for legislation that doesn’t exist; accepting donations that breach rules. You get the drift of what behaviour this category captures.

Election Rorts

In the months before the last election, the Government spent hundreds of millions of dollars of Australian taxpayers’ money on grants for sports, community safety, rural development programs and more. Many of these grants were disproportionally awarded to marginal seats, with limited oversight and even less accountability.

Dubious Travel Claims

Ministerial business that just happens to coincide with a grand final or a concert; electorate business that must be conducted in prime tourist locations, or at the same time as party fundraisers. All above board, maybe, but does it really pass the pub test? Or does it just reinforce the fact that politicians take the public for mugs?

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