Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | News Flashes | Scoop Features | Scoop Video | Strange & Bizarre | Search


Howard's End: Politicians’ Perks That Bite Back

Politicians in Australia are enjoying millions of dollars of free hospitality, free travel and free tickets to top sports events, while in the US the collapse of energy giant Enron, the symbol of how big business and politics sometimes conspire to fix the game, is turning ugly for the Bush administration. Maree Howard writes.

In Australia, companies like cigarette giant Philip Morris, are lavishing gifts of access-all-areas tickets on MP's from both major parties.

Investment giants AMP, Testra, Visy, Optus, and Westpac were also some of the biggest spenders on political gifts.

An investigation has also found that several ministers have accepted hospitality from companies within the scope of their portfolios.

Free tickets to the Olympic Games, the tennis and motorsports events were among the favoured events for corporations to show politicians a good time.

The packages have included oysters, lobsters and fine wine with wives and children also invited to attend. Some gifts have included free flights and accommodation.

It is also revealed that MP, Peter Cook, was given an all-expenses paid trip to New Zealand for the 2000 America's Cup yacht series by brewer Lion Nathan.

AMP spent $100 million on Olympic sponsorship including hospitality for 16 mainly government MPs. Philip Morris shouted 14 MPs to sports events and Telstra footed the bill for six coalition Ministers at the Olympics.

Under Parliamentary rules members are allowed to accept hospitality but must declare freebies above $200.

Independent MP, Peter Andren said corporate perks were a dangerous trend that should be curtailed.

"There's always a very, very hazy line between hospitality from a corporation and one's duties as an impartial representative," he said.

Meanwhile, in the United States, things are turning ugly for the Bush administration with eight separate congressional probes into the collapse of Texas energy giant Enron, and its relationship to President Bush.

The Justice Department also has an investigation underway with many of the unanswered questions concerning the White House.

What the public will learn about in the coming months is how business gets done down in Texas. How a small group of business leaders exerts enormous clout on the Bush team in getting rules changed to their benefit.

It will explain why Bush has locked up presidential records and wiped out any opposition voices. It will explain what influence Enron Chief Executive, Ken Lay, had on the administration's energy policy when Lay and advisors met six times while the vice president was putting together the energy policy.

It will explain the source of hundreds of thousands of dollars of donations to political campaigns.

Enron will be a real thorn in Bush’s side for months to come particularly with the congressional elections later this year.

It's an ugly story and one which explains a lot about what's going on in Washington - and it's only just begun.

© Scoop Media

Top Scoops Headlines


Werewolf: Living With Rio’s Olympic Ruins

Mariana Cavalcanti Critics of the Olympic project can point a discernible pattern in the delivery of Olympics-related urban interventions: the belated but rushed inaugurations of faulty and/or unfinished infrastructures... More>>

Live Blog On Now: Open Source//Open Society Conference

The second annual Open Source Open Society Conference is a 2 day event taking place on 22-23 August 2016 at Michael Fowler Centre in Wellington… Scoop is hosting a live blog summarising the key points of this exciting conference. More>>



Gordon Campbell: On The Politicising Of The War On Drugs In Sport

It hasn’t been much fun at all to see how “war on drugs in sport” has become a proxy version of the Cold War, fixated on Russia. This weekend’s banning of the Russian long jumper Darya Klishina took that fixation to fresh extremes. More>>


Binoy Kampmark: Kevin Rudd’s Failed UN Secretary General Bid

Few sights are sadder in international diplomacy than seeing an aging figure desperate for honours. In a desperate effort to net them, he scurries around, cultivating, prodding, wishing to be noted. Finally, such an honour is netted, in all likelihood just to shut that overly keen individual up. More>>

Open Source / Open Society: The Scoop Foundation - An Open Model For NZ Media

Access to accurate, relevant and timely information is a crucial aspect of an open and transparent society. However, in our digital society information is in a state of flux with every aspect of its creation, delivery and consumption undergoing profound redefinition... More>>

Keeping Out The Vote: Gordon Campbell On The US Elections

I’ll focus here on just two ways that dis-enfranchisement is currently occurring in the US: (a) by the rigging of the boundary lines for voter districts and (b) by demanding elaborate photo IDs before people are allowed to cast their vote. More>>

Ramzy Baroud: Being Black Palestinian - Solidarity As A Welcome Pathology

It should come as no surprise that the loudest international solidarity that accompanied the continued spate of the killing of Black Americans comes from Palestine; that books have already been written and published by Palestinians about the plight of their Black brethren. In fact, that solidarity is mutual. More>>


Get More From Scoop

Top Scoops
Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news