Open & Honest Government

Integrity, accountability and transparency of governments, parliamentarians and civil servants are vital to a healthy democracy. Lack of transparency creates the potential for unethical or corrupt conduct and undermines public confidence in government decision-making and the whole political process.

Aims

The Greens (WA) want:

  • greater transparency in the way governments and politicians deliberate, make decisions and implement actions, so that the public can hold governments accountable
  • increased recognition of the role anti-democratic influences play in disrupting open and honest government processes
  • better mechanisms for scrutinising and addressing disrupting conduct
  • to restore public confidence that codes of conduct with regard to lobbying are respected and adhered to

Measures

The Greens (WA) will initiate and support legislation and actions that:

  • provide public funding to enable information-based election campaigns
  • impose caps on election-related expenditure by political parties, candidates and third parties
  • ensure that politicians’ salaries, allowances, provision of offices and staffing entitlements are determined by an independent tribunal that considers the State Government’s financial position; public sector wages policy; and which ensures MPs are accountable for allowances spent. Tribunal rulings on allowances should promote efficient and sustainable practices
  • require all political parties to publicly provide real time release of all donations over $1 000, including the name of the donor
  • create a rigorous legislative regulatory regime for lobbyists that protects and guarantees fair and equitable access to Government and other key decision makers for all stakeholders
  • establish an independent body to investigate potential breaches of ministerial standards and a lobbying code of conduct
  • strengthen the protection of whistleblowers through legislation
  • support ‘shield laws’1 to ensure that, save in exceptional cases, a journalist cannot be required to reveal their sources
  • improve public access to government information and to court proceedings and reports
  • ensure that the formal decisions of cabinet and its sub-committees are made available to the public within a reasonable time
  • establish independent scrutiny of proposed government advertising to ensure that such advertising is not used for party-political purposes
  • ensure that the Legislative Council’s committee system is adequately funded, in recognition of the important role of the Council as the House of Review
  • ensure that any State Government subsidy, including those provided through reduced charges, Government funding or assistance packages, to any corporation, business, government-owned entity or NGO, is fully disclosed
  • abolish group voting tickets for the Legislative Council, bringing Western Australia into line with the voting systems used for the Federal Senate and the Upper Houses of Parliament in most other States

(See also the Australian Greens Constitutional Reform and Democracy policy)

Glossary

  1. Shield laws – offer protection to journalists from having to reveal their sources during legal hearings.  Journalists may be compelled to reveal sources if they are questioned before a Parliamentary hearing

Open & Honest Government policy ratified by The Greens (WA) in 2020

The Greens (WA) spokesperson for open and honest government is Alison Xamon MLC