Law ap­plies to MPS too

Townsville Bulletin - - OPINION -

A MO­MEN­TARY lapse of con­cen­tra­tion and you have driven at 10km per hour over the speed limit, for­get­fully you made a mi­nor omis­sion on your tax re­turn, mis­tak­enly you got the size of your catch wrong? Did you get away with it? No, of course not, you re­ceived a fine be­cause the “law is the law” and if you break the law there are con­se­quences – that is un­less you are a politi­cian, or so it seems.

First Billy Gor­don, MP elected as ALP mem­ber to the Queens­land Par­lia­ment with a crim­i­nal con­vic­tion, now serv­ing as an in­de­pen­dent de­spite other mat­ters cast­ing long shad­ows on his suit­abil­ity as a rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the peo­ple.

Matt Cana­van, Na­tional MP said his mother ob­tained his Ital­ian cit­i­zen­ship with­out his knowl­edge when he was 25 years old. I bet the Ital­ian au­thor­i­ties would be in­ter­ested in speak­ing to his mother about this ap­pli­ca­tion made on be­half of her adult son. I have friends of Ital­ian de­scent who are not find­ing it so easy to ob­tain an Ital­ian cit­i­zen­ship.

What is wrong with the po­lit­i­cal par­ties that fail to ex­er­cise due dili­gence when nom­i­nat­ing prospec­tive po­lit­i­cal can­di­dates? Where are the ref­er­ences, the back­ground checks, and most im­por­tant of all a Na­tional Po­lice Cer­tifi­cate. I sus­pect all that is needed is a cer­tain brag­gado­cio from a can­di­date to sail through the se­lec­tion process.

As a re­cent im­mi­grant to Aus­tralia, to ob­tain res­i­dency I had to sup­ply a spon­sor’s ref­er­ence, six char­ac­ter ref­er­ences, two po­lice checks, med­i­cal records, fi­nan­cial de­tails, my own state­ment and all this was done un­der the guid­ance of an ex­pert mi­gra­tion agent to en­sure the ap­pli­ca­tion was cor­rect.

Even now as a res­i­dent I still oc­ca­sion­ally ask the mi­gra­tion agent “can I, or should I de- clare this or that”. And now I em­ploy a lawyer on both sides of the world to en­sure all my UK af­fairs fol­low me to Aus­tralia in a proper man­ner. I have no com­plaints about this rig­or­ous vet­ting pro­ce­dure so why is sim­i­lar vet­ting seem­ingly not ap­plied to prospec­tive po­lit­i­cal can­di­dates?

Next to Queens­land’s Mal­colm Roberts, a One Na­tion MP who con­sid­ers it suf­fi­cient just to de­clare that he has re­nounced his Bri­tish cit­i­zen­ship be­fore car­ry­ing on his cam­paign and sub­se­quent elec­tion. There are rea­sons there is ‘ due process’ in re­nounc­ing Bri­tish cit­i­zen­ship, forms must be cor- rectly sub­mit­ted, suit­able doc­u­men­ta­tion must be ap­proved and fees paid. Only at the end of this process if all is present and cor­rect will Bri­tish cit­i­zen­ship be ended.

This point for Mal­colm Roberts came af­ter he was elected to Par­lia­ment. It would be in­ter­est­ing to know if Pauline Han­son was made aware at the time of this chain of events in late 2016. It will be for oth­ers to judge if Mal­colm Roberts is true to the state­ment he made in his first speech to par­lia­ment when he said “Peo­ple can be con­fi­dent that I will ad­vo­cate for them au­then­ti­cally, from my heart, al­ways in the na­tional in­ter­est. I will show the high­est eth­i­cal stan­dards in my ad­vo­cacy”.

Per­haps as a first step to demon­strat­ing “the high­est eth­i­cal stan­dards” Mal­colm Roberts will step down un­til all in­quiries are com­plete.

I do hope the Par­lia­men­tary Ethics Com­mit­tee, the po­lice and oth­ers are tak­ing a keen in­ter­est in these MPs. Should any MP be found lack­ing they should be pros­e­cuted and if guilty re­im­burse the pub­lic purse by pay­ing back all salaries and ex­penses claimed as an MP. GREG SEX­TON, Tay­lors Beach.

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