TIA’s message to federal election candidates: commit to public integrity reform

7 April 2022

“With unprecedented public and political momentum to establish a national integrity commission, we have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to act on this nation-building reform.’ Said Serena Lillywhite, CEO of Transparency International Australia.

Serena Lillywhite spoke at the launch of Transparency International Australia’s (TIA) federal election asks. TIA has written to members of parliament and key candidates who are running in the 2022 federal election campaign to share its top three priorities for public integrity reform.

‘Most political parties and Independents are in support of a national integrity commission in some form – but to really close the loopholes on corruption we must have a strong commission, with the best practice powers of a Royal Commission.

‘If we are to stop Australia’s downward slide in our international corruption score, a national integrity commission and public integrity reforms must be front and centre of political parties and Independents’ election campaign promises.

‘The latest Corruption Perceptions Index from Transparency International showed Australia’s score has plummeted 12 points over this past decade.’

‘This record-low score from Transparency International’s global research is alarming. Going forward, Australian federal parliamentarians must act decisively to strengthen our democracy and rebuild the public’s trust in our system of government.

‘With some key integrity reforms, our next federal parliament can build a fairer, more open, and more trustworthy government, and a more democratic Australia.

‘Transparency International Australia is calling on all parties and candidates in the 2022 federal election to commit to making these integrity reforms a reality over the next parliamentary term:

1. We need a strong National Integrity Commission to prevent, detect and stop federal government corruption

2. We need more effective laws to stop corrupt officials and businesspeople laundering money and hiding their abuses of power

3. We need open and trustworthy decision-making to stop undue influence distorting our democracy

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‘As representatives of their communities and their states, federal parliamentarians have a vital role to play in ensuring Australia has strong and fair public institutions that protect the best interest of all Australians, for current and future generations.

‘Transparency International Australia is part of a growing chorus of voices – from think tanks to community groups to individual citizens across the country calling for action on integrity reforms.

‘The momentum for change is unstoppable. We ask that the candidates aspiring to sit in the next federal parliament seize this opportunity and act to close the loopholes on corruption and strengthen our democracy.