In John Menadue's Public Policy Journal recently, Canberra's most respected political journalist, Jack Waterford, wrote: "Not a single woman or man on the governing side of Australian politics has had the guts or the integrity to criticise the practices, and apparent working standards and ethics, of the Morrison Government; in public that is."
"It will be 50 years or more before any sort of balanced judgement can be made about the present times", wrote Waterford; more is the pity.
Waterford did indicate he believed PM Scott Morrison was trying very hard to conceal important facts and there would be more to come from court actions including, it is to be hoped, the findings of integrity inquiries by powerful inquisitors.
This raises, as Friday on my Mind has done for a number of years now, not just the need for a national integrity commission but a Royal Commission and/or referendum into changes to the Australian Constitution, particularly in regards to the necessity any longer for three tiers of government or for the states to have judicial, representative or its own government's powers.
Last Thursday, Federal Labor's spokesman for Treasury and Charities, Andrew Leigh, MP for the ACT seat of Fenner, said in his monthly newsletter that: "Gladys Berejiklian's resignation is a stark reminder of the fact that while every Australian state has an anti-corruption commission, the Commonwealth doesn't. It's been more than 1000 days since Morrison promised a national integrity commission, and yet he's failed ('deliberately, miserably and for quite sinister reasons', my quotes) to deliver".
"The reason isn't hard to guess," Leigh puts forward.
"Sports rorts, regional rorts, car park rorts and land rorts are just a few of the many misuses of public funding. Christian Porter quit cabinet after breaching the ministerial code, but still refuses to disclose who bankrolled his lawsuit against the ABC; and Porter may be planning a comeback. After all, Stuart Robert, Bridget McKenzie, Sussan Ley and Barnaby Joyce are back in cabinet after being forced to resign over various scandals".
A Friday on my Mind reader sent me a speech delivered by the great Australian, Barry Jones, which he headed, "The democratic crisis: What happened to courage, principle, commitment and accountability? Australian democracy is under serious threat and neither of the major parties have any vision beyond the next election. Only an active citizenry can prevent us sliding towards authoritarian or populist democracy".
"This is the era of retail politics, complicated by some feudal elements, in factions and patronage. The major parties have been privatised, ruled by factions who will exercise power by keeping the numbers of active inquisitive party members well down."
Jones estimated there are more than 15 million voters now but probably less than 30,000 members of the major parties "(0.2 per cent of the total) who are actually alive and know that they are members", he reckons.
Which means, readers, we can't hang about waiting for constitutional honesty and a review of the way we should govern our nation onwards. As The Great Man, one of the National Trust's 100 Living National Treasures, Jones, indicated, "it's up to us".
Parting words - for now - from Jones, who incidentally, was giving the inaugural Jean McLean Oration at Victoria University honouring her distinguished career as a politician, activist and her significant contribution to public life and, in particular, Timor Leste, amongst other matters.
Jones wrote: "The last serious debate in the House of Reps about science and research was in 1989, on involvement in war in 1991, arts and culture in 1995, the republic in 1998, on human rights in 2001, foreign policy in 1903, the environment and climate change in 2000. Neither major party is willing to debate the rationale for progressive taxation, rational policies on water use, a humane approach to the refugees /asylum seeker issue or gambling".
As the Friday on My Mind reader who submitted Jones' oration remarked: "this is a brilliant expose about our decaying parliament. Right on the money but how do we fix it?".
In part, Jones suggested: "Challenging major parties to adopt open democratic practices, come clean on funding, expose the role of lobbyists and restore trust in public institutions (and the public service, my suggestion). If the major parties fail to respond, then citizens will have to create alternatives".
Today from former Liberal leader, John Hewson: "Voters are looking for politicians with conviction and purpose rather than drones who are just there for the perks of politics, whatever they might be".
Finally, as the Sydney Morning Herald's Peter Hartcher suggested, we are now lumbered with a new "Coalition of the Willing - the Australian advertising huckster, the British buffoon and the American senior citizen".