The dual citizenship debacle involving several high profile Australian politicians and ministers is creating unnecessary headaches for the Government, and challenges for politics across the spectrum.
For some sections of the population, who perhaps look at the world of politics with a lighter view, it might offer an opportunity to poke fun at the establishment.
The issue is that even what many would consider is a trivial issue, with little or no impact or harm, is likely to have significant consequences. We may see a change of government, the individuals involved may find themselves being personally sued and may have to pay back hundreds of thousands of dollars. Not trivial for anyone.
Time to start throwing stones. Jumping on our soaps boxes and crying foul at our pollies again.
We simply can’t trust them. Can we?
Before you go too far let me show you a mirror. Are you sure you have all the right qualifications, licenses and checks to do your current job? Chances are you don’t know or you don’t care or you think it doesn’t matter for my job.
You are likely to be wrong.
Let’s be honest, this is no laughing matter, especially when we consider that trust – in individuals and and organisations – has become such a valuable, precious, and sometime rare, commodity.
Going a step further, many people will be concerned that if the qualifications or credentials of individuals can be called into question at the highest echelons of Government, what impact might there be on the rest of society in general and for business and industry in particular.
For instance, many employers may now be asking questions about the identities, credentials and qualifications of their workforce – the people in whom people put their trust on a daily basis, and who play an important role in the long-term viability and reputation of their business.
Workforce compliance is critical and – as the Government has discovered through the dual nationality crises - employers need to ensure that all steps are taken to verify not only a person’s identity but also their qualifications and thereby their ability to perform certain tasks or provide a service.
Failure to do so could have serious consequences, not least because they would be in breach of Government legislation but also due to its potential impact on their business or, indeed, individual employees.
It is important to remember that compliance matters, regardless of the person or the job.
We have seen that a key politician being non-compliant has the potential to bring about a change in Government.
Likewise a worker on a mine or construction site whose qualifications have not been verified or are outdated has the potential to be involved in an incident that could destroy the reputation and credibility of their employer. Perhaps even put them out of business.
It is estimated that workforce compliance costs Australian business and industry more than $4 billion per year.
It is therefore vital that business and industry know what is required of them, and how they can go about ensuring compliance by verifying and managing employee credentials, regardless of whether they are a corporate executive, mine site manager, telecoms technician, tradie or, for that matter, a Government Minister.