An Italian mafia has infiltrated Australia’s political institutions, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and Fairfax media alleged after a year-long investigation.
The joint investigation by Fairfax and the ABC revealed Australian politics at both state and federal levels was infiltrated by Calabrian Mafia, also known as ‘Ndrangheta. It maintained the connections were so deep that the son of the group’s godfather even managed to land a clerical role at the Australian embassy in Rome when former Liberal minister Amanda Vanstone was still ambassador, despite his father having been investigated years beforehand for drug importation into Australia.
The report also disclosed a man believed to be a senior Mafia boss and alleged hitman met John Howard, who was then prime minister, along with other top Liberal Party personalities at various fundraising events.
On both instances, neither Howard nor Vanstone knew the people they were dealing with had links with the mafia association.
“’Ndrangheta had used a number of well-known party donors to put a legitimate public face on its activities,” the report said. The BBC also reports the Ndrangheta is “one of the world’s most powerful criminal groups, extending its influence and networks from Italy across the world.” A 2013 study by economic and social research institute Demoskopia said the ‘Ndrangheta boasts of a yearly turnover of 53 billion euros across 30 countries.
The disclosure report prompted federal police to discover “loopholes” in the country’s political donations system. Parties and members are allowed to collect donations “through avenues not covered by the statutory disclosure regime,” the ABC reports. This makes it hard to ascertain any bribery in the form of political donations, it added.
The full story on this shocking revelation can be seen on ABC’s Four Corners tonight.