Donald Trump FBI saga puts John Barilaro scandal in context

The heated political and public discourse around the John Barilaro saga should give us comfort. In places such as America, no such conversation is taking place.

Former US president Donald Trump in transit to deposition in a civil investigation (Image: AAP/AP/Julia Nikhinson)

Oaths are fascinating. When politicians and judicial officers swear to enforce the law “without fear or favour, affection or ill-will”, they are attesting to the goodness of their motives. That they won’t just do the right thing, but will do it for the right reasons.

Consider the ethical car crash taking place in New South Wales around former NSW deputy premier John Barilaro. Currently, we are all on the same page about what senior ministers did wrong, and more critically, why they are being called to account. Namely, because they broke the conventions of impartiality and fairness that should govern all hiring decisions, but particularly for flush government jobs. 

But if we were in a failing democracy, no such unanimity would prevail. Rather than accept the validity of the parliamentary inquiry looking into the allegations, or (eventually) set up an internal review to get to the truth, NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet could have slammed the Public Accountability Committee’s probe as a Labor-led witchhunt. He could have backed offending ministers like Stuart Ayres, rather than supporting — in the face of damning evidence and pressure from colleagues — his resignation.  

Read more about how stark differences in political discourse between Australia and America.

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