It is perhaps fitting that on the day that the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly passed legislation to establish an Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) for the Northern Territory that I present the first of an occasional series looking at corruption in the NT. Over the next few months I'll have a look at past inquiries and scandals and, of course, any of the new matters that the new ICAC examines in due course.
One day in July 1981 a meat inspector at San Diego in California became suspicious of parts of a shipment of Australian beef. On testing it proved to be horsemeat. The next week cartons marked as export grade boneless beef turned out to be kangaroo. Thus started what journalist Peter Grabosky called the great Meat Substitution Scandal of 1981.*
Its a long way from the west coast of the USA to Katherine and Tennant Creek in the NT but the bloody trail followed by the subsequent Royal Commission led straight to the chiller rooms of the small abattoirs in Katherine, Tennant Creek and other small NT towns.