6 September 2013

In the run up to the Australian election it will be interesting to see whether any particular party claims the high moral ground.

The Transparency International Global Corruption Barometer released last month indicates that Australians are not enamoured of their politicians.  Survey responses suggest that 58% consider political parties to be corrupt or very corrupt!  As an institution Parliament didn’t fare  very much better – 36% considered the legislature was corrupt or very corrupt. Public officials were rated marginally better with a 35% response suggesting they are corrupt or very corrupt. There may not be much attention given to that result – at least not by the media, which was ranked as poorly as political parties – at 58% corrupt or very corrupt.

Not much has been reported about party policies for raising standards in government.

In response to a query from Transparency International the Labor Party set out its “pro-integrity and anti-corruption” priorities.  These include enacting a Parliamentary code, a  Ministerial code and setting up a Parliamentary Integrity Commissioner who will;

  • Provide advice and report on parliamentary entitlements
  • Investigate incidents and provide ethical advice to MPs
  • Enforce the Parliamentary code and control the Lobbyist register

The Liberal Coalition has not formulated its policy.

By comparison, the Greens appear to have the most considered programme.  A Greens government would legislate a code for MPs, set up an anti corruption commission, strengthen  provisions for protecting whistleblowers and review the scheme for election financing.  The Greens would also enact controls on lobbying and lobbyists, based on the Canadian provisions which a fortnight ago, were rejected after Select Committee in New Zealand.