August 2019 (#247)

This past month we’ve seen explosive reports of potential money laundering, fast-tracked visa applications and crime gangs linked to Crown Casino.

While the Government has called on the Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity (ACLEI) to investigate the allegations, we at Transparency International Australia are concerned that ACLEI does not have the power, nor the resources, to get to the bottom of this matter.

What’s more, ACLEI’s powers do not clearly allow investigation of politicians, despite the allegations that politicians may have influenced visa approvals.

This scandal, like so many others, points yet again to the need for a strong and comprehensive national anti-corruption agency – one with the power to investigate politicians, determine the terms of their own investigations, and hear directly from the public.

We at TIA will continue to call for a strong national anti-corruption agency and better mechanisms to ensure the highest levels of integrity across our government and parliament.

Read on to learn more about our work this past month, and some up-coming events to get involved in.

Thank you for your support,

Serena Lillywhite

Ministerial Standards

In last month’s newsletter we wrote to you about the Ministerial Standards – the code of conduct designed to ensure our ministers act with integrity and put the public’s best interest first. Following the rapid appointments of former Ministers Christopher Pyne and Julie Bishop into new jobs a little too closely aligned with their former parliamentary roles, we supported calls for a parliamentary enquiry into these Standards.

You can read our 10 recommendations to the Parliament to strengthen these standards – among others – to strengthen the integrity, accountability and transparency of our elected representatives.

These include:
•    longer cooling-off periods
•    Standards should cover all parliamentarians and senior staff and public servants, not just ministers
•    Sanctions should be enforced for any breach of these Standards
•    Greater transparency around lobbying, political donations, and ministerial diaries

Our CEO Serena Lillywhite will attend a public hearing for the Senate Inquiry, on the 28th August.

Serena has also been asked to comment on the controversy surrounding Christopher Pyne for ‘The World Today’, on ABC Radio.

Listen to the Interview Here

Open Government Partnership Forum

Australia has signed up to the Open Government Partnership (OGP), an initiative that aims to secure concrete commitments from governments to promote transparency, empower citizens, fight corruption, and harness new technologies to strengthen governance.

As a member of the OGP Forum – a group of government and civil society organisations – TIA CEO Serena Lillywhite has kept the spotlight on progress against commitments made including: establishing a federal anti-corruption agency, joining the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, beneficial ownership disclosure (who really owns a company), open contracting and better procurement practice.

Work will soon commence on developing commitments for the third National Action Plan. This is a chance for you to have your say about what you think needs to be done to ensure we have a more open and accountable government.

Watch this space for when and how you can get involved both on-line and through public consultation.

Read more about Australia’s OGP commitments here

Whistleblowers

Transparency International Australia remains committed to ensuring whistleblowers get the protection they deserve. Their contribution to reporting misconduct is vital to improving the integrity of any organisation.

A Current Affair ran a piece recognising their contributions, and the personal and professional sacrifices they make. It’s well worth a watch.

Watch the Video Here

TIA’s Whistleblowing Event 

Save the Date!  21st October, 5.30-7.30pm

We’re offering you the opportunity to learn more about the new protections for private sector whistleblowers. Our members will be eligible for a free ticket to the event, worth $50.00. Read more here on becoming a TIA member.
General admission tickets will also be available.

You will hear firsthand insights from our Board Director Professor A J Brown, Australia’s leading whistleblower expert, on the recently amended Whistleblower provisions of the Corporation Act. Our TIA CEO Serena Lillywhite will also provide an update on our anti-bribery and corruption work.

Members, keep an eye out for a promotional code in your inbox.
Places will be limited, stay tuned for more details in next month’s newsletter!

 Are you a monitoring and evaluation expert?

The Transparency International Secretariat (TI-S) in Berlin is seeking the services of a Monitoring and Evaluation consultant to design and deliver a Lessons Learned Paper on the Mining for Sustainable Development Programme (M4SD), led by a Global Programme Team within Transparency International Australia.

Learn more here about the tender details

Whistleblowing Policy and Implementation: A Practical Guide

Griffith University in partnership with Informa, are holding a 1-Day Training course to ensure organisations are ready for Australia’s new, world-leading corporate law requirements.

Drawing on the latest research from the Griffith University-led ‘Whistling While They Work’ research program, the workshop equips professionals and organisations with a full understanding of the key elements of any whistleblowing policy or program – including the crucial objective, of supporting and protecting employees who speak up.

Brisbane: 14 Oct 19
Sydney: 16 Oct 19
Melbourne: 22 Oct 2019
Perth: 24 Oct 2019

Register Here to Attend

Register for APSACC 2019

If integrity matters to you, don’t miss the 7th Australian Public Sector Anti-Corruption Conference (APSACC) in Melbourne, 29-31 October. APSACC is the leading anti-corruption event in Australia, with its focus on preventing, exposing and responding to corrupt conduct and corruption risks in public institutions.

The conference presents an exciting and varied program, including workshops, plenary, concurrent and panel sessions, delivered by international keynote speakers, and local academic and field experts.

Register here to attend

The Regulation of Corporate Ethics: Governance in an Age of Inquiries Seminar

Join a diverse group of governance practitioners and researchers to discuss the challenges of regulating corporate ethics and hear about some of the key proposals under consideration at a federal level in Australia.

Topics covered in this half-day seminar include:
•    corruption, governance, and the economics of corporate enforcement
•    the historical antecedents of current proposals for corporate criminal law reforms
•    the challenge of designing laws that improve corporate behaviour
•    the challenges of effectively implementing laws in organisations and across business sectors

Register here to attend for your free ticket