Media release: Coalition missing in action on anti-corruption commitments

10 May 2019

Transparency International Australia (TIA) has written to the major parties asking what action they will take in the next parliament to strengthen parliamentary integrity and our democracy.*

‘We are disappointed that Prime Minister Scott Morrison has failed to respond to our request for transparency on their commitment to parliamentary integrity and democratic reforms.’ Said TIA CEO Serena Lillywhite.

‘We are pleased to see strong commitments from the Australian Labor Party and the Australian Greens, as well as former whistleblower, Independent MP Andrew Wilkie.

‘We welcome their cross-party support for a national anti-corruption and integrity agency with strong powers; disclosing political donations above $1000; better protection for whistleblowers and stronger action on global transparency and anti-corruption efforts.

‘We welcome the ALP’s commitment to develop a robust and detailed anti-corruption plan of action. We need this to ensure the commitments made are acted upon and the government can be held to account.

‘This federal election campaign has been rocked by a series of corruption and integrity scandals – from problematic Murray Darling water deals, to questionable hospital sales, rushed approvals for Adani’s Carmichael coal mine, travel rorts and questionable conflicts of interest – and Cayman Islands tax avoidance schemes have come up a little too often.

‘Australians are fed up with corruption and a flawed political system that gives power to the highest bidder and allows politicians to swap favours with industry mates.

Our research found 85 per cent of Australians think at least some federal politicians are corrupt, and a majority of people want a national anti-corruption agency.

‘Transparency International Australia has identified five priority reforms that would go a long way to improving the integrity and accountability of our democratic system and restore the public’s trust in public office.

‘These include caps on political donations, controls over political lobbying, a robust code of conduct for all parliamentarians, better protection for whistleblowers, stronger action on global anti-corruption efforts, and of course a national anti-corruption and integrity agency.

‘At a time when Australians are almost daily rocked by corruption scandals or allegations of breaches of integrity by our federal parliamentarians – these reforms should be prioritized by all politicians who aspire to work in a well-functioning new parliament.

‘All political promises, all reform commitments, the whole agenda of the next parliament depend on a government that is transparent, accountable and acts with integrity.’

*The detailed responses from the ALP, the Greens and Independent MP Andrew Wilkie can be found on our website

Our five national integrity reform priorities can be found here