Level of pork barrelling amounts almost to corruption

If Matthew Wales was disappointed by the low level of pork-barrelling for the Central Coast in the State election, he won’t be disappointed in the upcoming Federal election (“Funding announced for 600 additional car spaces at Gosford”, Coast Community News edition 204) where Prime Minister Scott Morrison is obviously splashing the cash in hopes of buying enough votes to retain office.
Leaving aside the question of which article of the Constitution gives the Federal Government responsibility for parking, this disgusting practice of broadcasting cash to influence electors has reached the point where it amounts almost to corruption.
Both of the main parties are equally culpable in this conspiracy to defraud the public, so pious complaints by the Labor Party about the largesse coming the way of Liberal marginal seats this year hardly impresses.
Let us remember that this is our money that the Government is so free with.
The Government took it from us in taxes, and we are entitled to expect that it will be used for the benefit of the nation as a whole, not to shore up the electoral chances of a few backbenchers whose contribution to the political system is negligible.
Are we so stupid that we are expected to be grateful to the Government for dribbling our own money back to us in flashy one-off expenditures, to benefit a supposed group of swinging voters in critical electorates?
There is a body called Infrastructure Australia that is supposed to monitor capital outlays by the Government and assess them for cost/benefit purposes.
It is notable that election promises seem to bypass this procedure, which is one reason why we badly need a federal ethics/corruption watchdog.
There is no analysis to suggest that 600 car-parking spaces in Gosford would be the region’s highest transport priority.
However, the purpose of pork-barrelling is to gain publicity, not to make a worthwhile contribution to the common good.
How can we ever expect that the country will be run efficiently, when politicians can squander our money on any inane project, without any check or balance from an impartial body?
In a letter to Coast Community News edition 204, I said that the responsibility of elected officials (at whatever level) is to protect the general public interest, and this distortion of the electoral process is a derogation of such responsibility that should be heavily punished at the ballot box.
Unfortunately, politicians of all stripes seem to believe that handouts are the way to voters’ hearts, and who’s to say that they’re not right?
One look at the calibre of politicians we elect is enough to make one despair.

Email, Apr 5
Bruce Hyland, Woy Woy

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