JEFF KENNETT - PREMIER OF VICTORIA
- CRIME, CORRUPTION, OTHER ILLEGAL DEALINGS
There is substantially more coverage
of Kennett's questionable activities in chapters 36-41 of the book Victoria
Police Corruption that was released in July 1999.
While the Kennett (Victoria - Australia) Government has made it known
through the mainstream media (which he appears to control) that it has
an allegedly hard-line on law enforcement and integrity issues including
so-called 'zero-tolerance' for many kinds of crimes, to some observers,
Jeff Kennett appears to be exempt from all this.
In 1993, Kennett and his wife were exposed as having used a government
car to conduct private business for the advertising agency, KNF owned by
Kennett and wife Felicity. Under normal circumstances such isn't allowed,
but it goes without saying that Kennett wasn't punished or fined in any
way for doing so. A further conflict of interest was that highly lucrative
government contracts were being awarded to KNF, possibly in violation of
He was also revealed to have been selling liquor without a State
Government issued liquor licence. He was able to escape criminal charges,
which had they been pursued could have landed him in jail.
On 29 May 1996, Kennett assaulted a number of journalists by shoveling
dirt on them and their cameras at a City-Link ground breaking ceremony.
After attacking the journalists he said 'which will be the first one to
charge me with assault'. It is perhaps notable that the usual responsibility
for such charges rests with the state Police. That the Police did not charge
Kennett, even though the assault was televised may have something to do
with his backing them in refusing to hold a Royal Commission into the force,
in spite of repeated cases of Victoria Police Corruption
at the highest levels.
On January 3 1996, Kennett was able to avoid being charged for driving
143 km in a 100 km zone on the Hamilton Highway, near Lismore, Western
Victoria. Normally, the minimum penalty for such an offence in Victoria
is automatic licence suspension and a hefty fine. Jail is also an alternative.
Kennett got no licence suspension - the Police refused to charge him. It
has since been revealed that another man, a publican at Colac, was pulled
over for allegedly doing 133 km in the same area. The Police officer refused
to use his discretion to drop the alleged speed by a mere 3 km to allow
him to keep his licence. In yet another case, Mr. Clive Goodenough was
taken to court for doing more than 30 km over the limit. He was jailed
for two months following an ex-parte hearing. There he was bashed and raped.
Kennett refused his application to have the case reopened.
Protection of unethical and/or illegal/criminal activity by Police
and others of Kennett, appears to go beyond himself and seems to extend
to his family. In December 1995, Kennett confirmed that his children had
been involved in the illegal drug trade by smoking marijuana and yet they
too have escaped charges. Currently Victorian prisons are full of others
who have similarly used drugs.
Kennett also made comments on the Ray Martin Show (Channel
9) about a rape trial still in progress that were evidently in contempt
of court. Again he was not charged. After making these statements, Kennett
used taxpayer's funds for lawyers in a bid to avoid being charged.
Kennett's use of taxpayer's funds for his own purposes and to gag
investigation seems to be a common trait of government in Victoria. He
successfully sued Packer for an estimated $400,000 in an out of court settlement
for a broadcast few can remember. As a rule, defamation actions by Politicians
are funded by the taxpayer, and in the event that they win, the payout
goes in the pocket of the politician. In the event that the politician
loses the case, the taxpayer picks up the tab. In other words, defamation
is a no-lose lottery for Victorian State Politicians.
More recently Kennett was accused on 4 Corners (ABC-TV) of
using undue influence to gain shares in his wife's name in a company (Arthur
Yates and Co.) after it was announced that the share offer had formally
closed. He subsequently made a substantial paper profit.
In a separate incident, Kennett entertained representatives of the
Guangdong Corporation - one of the directors of which is the biggest poker
machine operator in Victoria. He accepted an invitation to buy highly sought
after shares in the company (again in his wife's name) at about the same
time his Government released another 5000 Poker machines onto the market.
Again in relation to Kennett's share dealings, it was revealed he
was on the Mayne Nickless share register when a State Government contract
was awarded to a consortium involving the company. In spite of the fact
that Kennett bought the shares in February 1992, he failed to disclose
his interests in the September 1992, Parliamentary register. Under normal
circumstances, "willful contravention" of the Members
of Parliament (Register of Interests) Act, is punishable by fines of
up to $2,000.
Kennett's actions in relation to other matters have also come under
fire, incuding alleged breaches of confidentiality in the tendering process
for the 2 Billion Dollar Crown Casino (possibly in violation of state laws),
and the subsequent allowing of the successful tenderer, to have extra gaming
tables at reduced rates. Notable is how the winning tenderers, including
senior executives Lloyd Williams and Ron Walker, appear to be close personal
friends and/or associates of Kennett. The Senate (Federal Government) looked
into this, but the inquiry was apparantly sabotaged because potential witnesses
were fearful of reprisals should they give evidence unfavourable to Kennett
and/or others with close links to the State Government. On related matters,
the Casino appears to be allowed to have more than the usual four signs
on roads directing motorists to it (a legal restriction on all other businesses)
and appears to have sought and received tax breaks/concessions far over
and above those obtained by most, if not all other businesses in Victoria.
It has been alleged that Kennett has resorted to allowing the State Government
to be used to prop up businesses of friends and political allies (line
their pockets) at the expense of other Victorian businesses to create an
unlevel commercial playing field in the state. Another apparant infraction
by the Crown Casino was their running a lottery without a permit. In spite
of this illegal activity, there is absolutely no doubt that the Casino
operators or their casino will have their business in any way interrupted.
If an ordinary citizen of Victoria attempted the same thing (running a
lottery without a permit) a likely result would be jail.
Crown Casino also came under fire for giving a highly lucrative "sponsorship"
for activities involving one of Kennett's sons.
Kennett's role in the tendering process for another lucrative government
deal, the "transurban" tollway system, called City Link has also
come under serious speculation. Again questions about the tendering process
have not been adequately answered by Kennett. His excuse has been "commercial
confidentiality". However because these are Government contracts involving
taxpayer's funds, the "commercial confidentiality" clause doesn't
hold water. That this could be due to corruption in the tendering processes
cannot be discounted. For example it was recently revealed that the alleged
tendering process of some lucrative Vicroads road construction contracts
were being perverted to allow favoured parties to get the contracts, which
some say are a licence to print money.
The State government privatisation and sell offs of other assets
has come under strong fire on the basis of political opposition. This is
not of concern to AAC unless it involves issues of probity. However these
issues have been raised in terms of a certain USA-based private prison
operator, namely Wakenhut Corp. and other buyers of State assets. Kennett
has refused to allow any proper independent investigation of these matters,
again on the alleged basis of "commercial confidentiality". However
corruption matters and those involved in legal infractions by companies
and/or their directors (in Australia and/or elsewhere) have nothing to
do with "commercial confidentiality" but rather whether the given
group is fit and proper to be issued a government contract and/or funds
in the first instance - issues that are unresolved and therefore a matter
of serious question.
So-called government "watchdogs" such as the State Ombudsman's
Department, Auditor general and FOI Laws have all been perverted to
prevent the public from finding out details about alleged and/or possible
corruption in the Kennett government. A concerted effort to find out about
one of the State Government "licences to print money" failed
on November 6, 1997. An FOI claim was rejected by the government and
it's rubber stamp the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT), (refer to
The Hoser Files for a chapter that details
the charade of the AAT). The FOI claim sought details about a $24
million dollar payment to Troughton Swier and Associates. The payment (described
by some as a "gift"), was made in relation to what the Government
labelled a so-called "energy consultancy" by Kennett and his
treasurer, Alan Stockdale. In violation of government protocol, no public
tender had been called before the so-called "energy consultancy"
or payment was made. Attempts by public interest groups to find out details
about the matter have been wilfully sabotaged by Kennett's government.
It has been said, that the private enterprise system in Victoria
has now been superseded by a system based on patronage and corruption akin
to that of the Bjelkie Peterson years in Queensland or the Wran/Unsworth
years in NSW or even that of the Suharto regime in Indonesia, whereby only
the politically well connected can make large amounts of money and effectively
control all key sectors of the economy. No doubt more facts will become
clear over time although this may be some years and after Kennett leaves
the political scene. Finally it should be noted that Government corruption
in the state of Victoria did not start the day Jeff Kennett became State
leader. However what is clear is that there has been no effort to reduce
this corruption and all obvious indicators show that it appears to have
increased markedly since his coming to Government in late 1992.
Kennett's wife also went on a taxpayer funding spending binge with
her State Government issued Visa credit card. Among her many purchases
was a pair of $315 sunglasses from Optika Tarasoudis in Greece in September
1995. When asked by the media why Felicity Kennett had used taxpayer's
funds for her own indulgence, Mr. Kennett stated on 20/11/97 that his wife
had used the Visa card as the shop had not accepted American Express, which
was another card his wife had. The (routine?) falsity of Kennett's statement
was shown by the rebuttal by shop manager Andreas Tarassoudis the next
day when he said that his shop had been accepting American Express for
about ten years. Perhaps of greater significance is the simple act of issuing
Mrs Kennett with a taxpayer funded credit card in the first instance. In
at least five other states, no spouses of leaders are issued taxpayer funded
credit cards. NSW Premier Bob Carr told the media that there was no reason
why the taxpayer should pay the expenses of his wife.
Kennett's wife accepted as a "gift', free use of a BMW allegedly
as part of a so-called "promotion' for the company.
In February 1998, when Kennett officially announced his separation
from wife Felicity, he deceitfully blamed the media for the separation.
This is ironic as Kennett, perhaps more than any other previous Victorian
State leader has manipulated the media to suit his own interests more than
anyone else. He has even gone so far as to ring newspaper editors themselves
and tell them what he thinks should and should not be reported, in what
is clearly a breach of accepted protocol. The ever present threat of defamation
actions against journalists who dare question some of his activities, as
well as the ever-present threat on newspapers and TV broadcasters to withdraw
State Government advertising has further ensured a consistent pro-Kennett
line has been run by the mainstream media - a line which deliberately and
forcibly suppresses public knowledge of corruption involving the Kennett
government as well as other irregularities.
For several years there have been repeated rumors of Kennett assaulting
his wife. These rumors have been denied by both Jeff and Felicity. Once
a Labor MP spoke to Felicity Kennett in the State Parliament House foyer
and she performed a little dance and said "See. No bruises!".
Protection of criminals, including
known child molestors, Jeff Kennett, Other Politicians, Victoria Police,
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