BARRY Prismall says: It is a scandalous waste of taxpayers' money to establish a corruption watchdog with insufficient powers to do its job properly.
The Tasmanian Integrity Commission was established in late 2010 by a reluctant state government and costs about $3 million a year to run. A parliamentary committee this year will report on the commission's progress since 2010.
It has less than 20 staff and claims it lacks the coercive power to compel evidence and information. Institutions in other states have coercive powers.
The West Australian Corruption and Crime Commission has royal commission powers, costs almost $30million to run, with almost 150 staff.
The contrast is stark. Western Australia may have a lot more to monitor, but that's not the point. If you are going to spend a cent on a corruption watchdog it may as well be as powerful as a sabre-toothed tiger, rather than a toothless tiger. Otherwise the money is completely wasted.
The inherent flaws of human nature will always bedevil our public services and make us wary about what happens to public money.
We are not presuming that all public servants and politicians are crooks, but, that a corruption watchdog keeps us vigilante and protects those involved from innuendo and the foul play of others.
Conversely, it is naive to assume that every corner of our vast array of public services is corruption free. You will find dishonesty amongst a minority in all endeavours.
Some may argue that a corruption watchdog with the extensive powers of a royal commission could become an unfair court of public opinion; where good reputations are unfairly maligned.
During the bribery royal commission of 1990-91 good reputations were damaged and mocked, as the inquiry with its inquisition powers unearthed salacious side shows to the main event of a bribery attempt against a politician.
That may be so, but it is still good practice to suspect that corruption may exist, and that while royal commissions are always available they are major and costly undertakings which are seldom established.
It is too easy and naive to say little Tassie does not need a powerful corruption watchdog, while we never bother to look.