Every year seems to bring a vintage crop of new scandals, a new set of politically charged revelations about corruption, both in Australia and many other democratic countries. Over the past two-and-a-half decades we have become accustomed to the political crises and dramas of scandals unfolding in the news. More than a dozen federal cabinet ministers have had to resign, while at state level some disgraced ministers have even served time in prison. A succession of royal commissions and other inquiries has unveiled a wide variety of official misdeeds, including evidence of police corruption and raising questions which go to the heart of the administration of justice. A parade of corporations has gone bankrupt, including some led by prominent personalities previously lauded in the media, who subsequently faced -- or evaded -- criminal prosecutions. Such has been the profusion of allegations, both proved and unproved, that there are also symptoms of scandal fatigue. At times the outpourings of outraged reactions seem disproportionate to the offences alleged. The danger is that the maze of details of individual cases is so demanding that public responses are dulled into an alienated and indiscriminate weariness, into the belief that 'they all do it', an attitude which is detrimental to hopes of reform and corrosive of democratic accountability.
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Publication information: Book title: Scandals:Media, Politics & Corruption in Contemporary Australia. Contributors: Rodney Tiffen - Author. Publisher: UNSW Press. Place of publication: Sydney, N.S.W.. Publication year: 1999. Page number: 1.
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