National ICAC-equivalent urgently needed
The Australian Greens have called on both Liberal and Labor to urgently consider legislation for a national ICAC-equivalent in light of recent events in NSW politics.
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.
Australian Greens Leader Christine Milne said, "ICAC's value exposing the revolving door between big business and politics is evident to the nation and people are appalled that it is still going on."
"We need a national corruption commission because it's foolish to think this behaviour is isolated to NSW.
"Everywhere you look there are questions asked about conflicts of interest between decision makers and major coal and resource projects.
"People are fed up that blind eyes are being turned and that white collar crime is so easily excused.
"Politicians of all persuasions should recognise that the public interest is best served by a clear separation between politics and business, which is sadly not the case in Australia. It's time to put a jamb in the revolving door," said Senator Milne.
Australian Greens Democracy spokesperson Lee Rhiannon said 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," said Senator Rhiannon.
"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."