It's time to clean up politics.
Recent revelations of misuse of political entitlements make it clear that anti-corruption measures at a federal level are inadequate. It’s time to get money out of parliament, and to establish a national corruption watchdog to clean up politics.
Every State now has an anti-corruption commission. The Federal government is now the only jurisdiction without the infrastructure to confront corruption. Every time wrongdoing is exposed, one-off reviews or ad-hoc investigations are launched. We need a permanent commission to prevent corruption occurring and investigate claims as they arise.
The Greens already have a bill to establish a National ICAC before the Parliament -- now the Labor and Liberal parties just need to support it. Among other integrity measures, the bill would establish a new Office of the Independent Parliamentary Adviser to advise MPs and Ministers on entitlements claims and the ethical running of their office that the public rightly expects, and also develop a legally binding code of conduct for MPs for the Parliament to adopt.
Politicians of all persuasions should represent the public interest. This is best served by a clear separation between politics and business. Recent revelations by state corruption watchdogs make it clear that sadly this is often not the case in Australia.
Confidence in the political process is low, with the public increasingly cynical of the idea that politicians represent their interests over corporate interests.
The NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) has exposed systemic corruption which clearly does not stop at state borders. We need a national anti-corruption commission to close the revolving door between big business and politics.
Unfortunately, Liberal, National and Labor MPs have repeatedly blocked our moves in the federal parliament to set up a National ICAC. Reintroducing our plan for a National Anti-Corruption Commission will be a top priority for the Greens in this parliament.
The last election campaign alone saw 5 allegations that could have been investigated by a National ICAC.
A national anti-corruption watchdog
The National Anti-Corruption Commission would be an independent statutory agency, set up to deal with corruption in relation to public officials and federal agencies. The Commission would consist of –
A National Integrity Commissioner,
A Law Enforcement Integrity Commissioner, and
An Independent Parliamentary Advisor.
It would investigate and work to prevent misconduct and corruption in all federal departments, agencies and corrupt behaviour by federal parliamentarians and their staff.
The Commission would have full investigative powers, including conducting public and private hearings and summoning any person or agency to produce documents and appear before the Commission.
Currently disclosure regarding the target of lobbying reform only applies to government ministers.
The Greens believe that this disclosure should be expanded to include all MPs and Senators, including crossbenchers and opposition MPs.
We also support a five year ban on ex-ministers working as lobbyists. This will work to close the revolving door on MPs moving between politics and big business that is too commonplace.
Reform of political donation laws is a significant part of the fight against corruption. Read more about our Democracy4Sale campaign here, which examines political donation reform, or visit the Democracy4Sale website.
Sign our petition to call for National Anti-Corruption Commission.