Julia Gillard, in one of her more outrageous moments, has declared that her carbon tax would be “shyster” proof; to which, the Australian Federal Police Association (AFPA) quickly countered with “the policy would have a dramatic impact on the force.”
The Department of Climate Change has indicated that provisions have been made under the dumped carbon pollution reduction scheme to appoint Australian Federal Police officers as climate inspectors.
AFPA president Jim Torr said there was little doubt the AFP would be required to play a role in policing the scheme:
“Tax evasion is one of the big things the AFP works on … There has to be implications for our organisation, even in validating and monitoring. This will be another area of responsibility of the AFP … The potential for fraud is enormous and the scale of the fraud phenomenal.”
The Department of Climate Change said, based on overseas experience, that the threats to climate change registries being subject to rorts was significant, which highlighted the need for Australia to implement effective security and anti-fraud measures.
The Prime Minister reiterated the Department of Climate Changes’ position:
“We’ll have our own scheme. And we’ve learnt the lessons from emissions trading schemes overseas … We won’t be importing any of the problems that other emissions trading schemes have had. We will design this scheme so that it is not able to be used by shysters to make a dollar.”
That’s all very nice but, how are the Australian Federal Police going to enforce something as complex as the governments proposed carbon tax, when they have failed so abysmally at everything else they have been tasked with.
Using the Australian Federal Police as enforcers to ensure that the carbon tax system is “shyster” proof, sounds like as an effective a deterrent against rorting, as making Ali Baba Commissioner for Taxation, would be.
While the Australian Federal Police may get away, at some level, with using public service bullying tactics against people like Mr. Ul-Haque or Messers Kalita, Akao and Kola, it is unlikely that the same tactics would work against multi-billion dollar corporations. Nor would the tactics that were allegedly deployed in the Martens case (changing and removing documents) work, again because multi-billion dollar corporations have the resources to challenge Australian Federal Police corruption.
What is even more telling on the Australian Federal Police and their ability to investigate crime without resorting to corruption is the latest Commonwealth Ombudsman’s report on them and on their ability to investigate crime that happens right under their noses. In fact the Australian Federal Police have claimed that their ‘rap sheet’ is clear when it comes to crimes committed by their members against members of the public.
Regular readers of Blak and Black will know that this claim by the Australian Federal Police is nothing more than an outrageous fabrication. But, don’t take my word for it, read what the Commonwealth Ombudsman has to say about the Australian Federal Police for yourselves:
The Australian Federal Police (AFP) has cleared itself of every complaint about excessive use of force made by a member of the public since the Commonwealth Ombudsman became responsible in January 2007 for reviewing the AFP’s complaint-handling activities.
The Ombudsman’s latest review, which examined data relating to 399 complaints closed between 1 August 2009 and 28 February 2010—plus the 109 excessive use of force complaints made since January 2007, 80 from members of the public—was tabled in the Parliament [in February 2011].
‘It is clear that there were deficiencies in the AFP’s complaint-handling practices during this period,’ the Ombudsman, Allan Asher, said. ‘In some cases, there was little evidence to show that AFP members took steps to diffuse difficult situations before resorting to force, while in others the records were inconsistent or incomplete.’
Mr Asher criticised the AFP for failing to address inconsistencies in statements, referring to the case of Mr X, who complained that Officer Y behaved aggressively when arresting him.
One of these inconsistencies related to a paint scraper, which Mr X claimed was in his trouser pocket and would not have been visible to police until after he was forcibly removed from his vehicle. Officer Y stated he grabbed hold of Mr X and then saw the handle of the ‘knife’; while the AFP’s ‘use of force’ report asserted that police saw the knife and then used force.
Mr Asher called into question the AFP’s complaint management practices, citing delays in reaching conclusions to investigations and the high ‘clearance’ rate as other major issues.
‘Timeliness in resolving complaints about everything from a small customer service matter right through to the most serious of misconduct claims has deteriorated, with some cases open for years,’ the Ombudsman said.
‘Good complaint handling is about resolving individual problems and making improvement to systems. It differs from investigating crimes, even though the consequences of a substantiated complaint may be severe for an AFP member, and should take into consideration the history of complaints against a member where one exists.
‘Efforts to improve the quality of complaint handling through training are paying off, but there is room for further improvement, and I look forward to continuing our work with the AFP’s Professional Standards team to this end.’