An Australian Greens bill for a national Integrity Commissioner is already before federal Parliament. Among other integrity measures, the bill would establish a new Office of the Independent Parliamentary Adviser to advise MPs and Ministers on entitlements claims and the ethical running of their office that the public rightly expects. The adviser will also be tasked with developing a legally binding code of conduct for MPs for the Parliament to adopt.
The latest NSW developments highlight the need for all MPs to jointly back a packet of reforms to strength our democratic institutions. A federal ban on corporate donations to political parties is also urgently needed. This is one way we can put the brakes on activities many in the community consider corrupt. It is a shame, but telling, that earlier this year the Coalition government and Labor opposition joined forces in the Senate to vote down a Greens motion backing greater regulation of lobbying activities in the federal parliament. The Greens anti-corruption legislation has now been before federal Parliament for two terms of government. The test for Prime Minister Tony Abbott and opposition leader Bill Shorten is coming. Will they support in parliament the Greens proposal for a federal corruption watchdog? If they refuse they will have aligned themselves with the old, dirty, discredited side of Australian politics.