Today, Transparency International Australia is launching its top priorities for reform to strengthen transparency and accountability under the next federal parliament, as political integrity issues shape up as central to Election 2019.
‘The overwhelming majority of our federal politicians now supports a better system to tackle corruption and promote political integrity across our government and parliament,’ said Dr Nicole Bieske, acting CEO of Transparency International Australia.
‘Our five priority areas for action now challenge all parties to answer the question: how do we take forward that momentum to bring out the best in our democracy?’
‘Proposals so far for a federal corruption watchdog are just a first step – both major parties need to back a larger plan for promoting political integrity to ensure our democracy is as fair and representative as can be.’
‘We want to fix the flaws in the system – where the people with the most money get the best access to politicians, and people who blow the whistle on crime and corruption are silenced.’
‘Our research shows federal reforms to fight corruption and ensure political integrity require $100 million a year, but so far the Coalition’s budget promises only $42 million and Labor has flagged less than $20 million for their federal anti-corruption agency proposals,’ said Professor A J Brown,Transparency International Australia board member and Professor of Public Policy & Law at Griffith University.
‘Our lengthy discussions with experts and everyday Australians alike point us towards clear priorities for reform:
- A strong and properly resourced National Integrity Commission– one that goes beyond punishing corruption and fosters the highest level of integrity across our government and parliament.
- Fair, transparent and nationally consistent rules for controlling political donations – so that our elected representatives put the public’s best interest first, not those who pay the most.
- Strong rules around lobbying and a parliamentary code of conduct to stop conflicts of interest and put the public’s best interest first.
- A strong whistleblower protection authority – because whistleblowers’ contribution to exposing wrong-doing helps us all.
- We need to be a better member of the international community – and act to stop the flow of dirty money into Australia, reform foreign bribery law, stop the use of anonymous shell companies as vehicles for corruption and wrongdoing, and join important global initiatives to promote transparency.’
‘We call on all political parties and independents to commit to adequately funding this important reform agenda and join our plan of action to promote the highest levels of integrity for our democracy’, Dr Bieske concluded.