CPDS Home Contact Professionalism: Chronological Summary

Email sent 2/8/09

Terry Sweetman
Sunday Mail

Warning signs were there at the very start: Too true

Re: 'Warning signs were there at the very start', Sunday Mail, 2/8/09

Your article suggested that warning signs of potential corruption by Gordon Nuttall were there at the very beginning. However the risk was not limited to Mr Nuttall.

My interpretation of your suggestions: Your article suggested that those signs related to Mr Nuttall's involvement as a Westpac accountant in identification of sleazy payments to the account of former Queensland premier (Joh Bjelke Peterson) just prior to that information becoming public and being used politically. You suggested that it was possible that this action (which could be viewed as breach of trust by an employee) might have secured him advancement to a leadership position within the ALP, and been consistent with the then-prevailing 'whatever it takes' political ethos - an ethos that needs to be reviewed because it can result in placing tribal loyalties ahead of public morality.

Warning signs of abuse of power were there from the very start in relation, not just to Gordon Nuttall, but to the whole ALP government that implemented the Fitzgerald reform agenda in the early 1990s.

Some of those signs are documented in Reform of Queensland Institutions - or a Rising Tide of Public Hypocrisy?. The latter demonstrates why public sector 'reforms' seemed neither straight nor effective (and to have been intended to put in a political fix rather than to create an effective administration). Moreover the ALP's then dominant faction (the AWU) had long been suspected of rorting practices in filling important positions (a suspicion that was later confirmed by the Shepherdson inquiry).

John Craig