MATES RATES: (Above left) Dr Cameron Murray, and (above) signing his book Game of Mates.
MATES RATES: (Above left) Dr Cameron Murray, and (above) signing his book Game of Mates. Contributed

Corruption fighter says transparency does not work

TRANSPARENCY does not work and town plans are often ignored.

These are two of the ideas which Dr Cameron Murray, who is coming to Gympie next month as part of a local government reform meeting, said stood out amid his research on the economics of corruption.

The Queensland Local Government Reform Alliance is holding its annual general meeting in Gympie next month, and has invited the researcher and author as their guest speaker.

Earning a PhD in the economics of corruption and writing a book, Game of Mates, on economic theft in Australia, Dr Murray said he had been "surprised” by a few things he found.

One was that his understanding of how the game was played was wrong.

"I really thought political donations would be a big part of the picture and it turns out that they're not. It's much more the relationships ... donations are more of a ticket to a club,” he said.

"What that means now is that a lot of the focus on political donations is perhaps a bit misguided.”

At first believing transparency was the best solution, he now thinks it is "mostly ineffective”.

DR Cameron Murray, economist and author of Game of Mates.
DR Cameron Murray, economist and author of Game of Mates. Contributed

"My view now is that transparency is mostly ineffective and the real way to stop political favouritism ... is to put a price on the favours given.”

Dr Murray said it was his own background working in government departments and for property developers that led him to further investigate what he saw happening.

Touring for the book he found communities were reporting the same issues.

"One of the big trends is having a town plan and ignoring it,” he said.

Met with interest by government departments, think tanks and community groups, he was unfortunately being ignored by an important group: politicians.

"The smart thing for the State Government is to ignore me ... they do not want to give free publicity to someone who has an idea to take back $1.8 billion of free gifts to developer mates in Queensland each year,” he said

Dr Murray said the growing number of community groups would not be effective without a change.

"You're up against professional lobbying and political industry, and having 30 different community groups with the same problem across the state is not so helpful. They've got to put down their local issue and push together in the same direction,” he said.

The LGRQA is meeting on September 2-3, with Dr Murray speaking on the first day.

Gympie Times


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