Keeping Them Honest: the case for a genuine national integrity commission and other vital democratic reforms by Charles AO QC Stephen Charles and Catherine Williams
A revealing and compelling case for the establishment of a strong national anti-corruption body and the enactment of other vital democratic reforms.
Over the last few years, instances of the federal government spending taxpayers’ money to gain improper political advantage in elections have continued, with many hundreds of millions of dollars being spent on the Community Sport Infrastructure Program (aka the Sports Rorts) and the Urban Congestion Fund (the Carpark Rorts). As Stephen Charles writes, these electorally targeted pork-barrelling exercises are better understood as political corruption, which can take many forms but essentially involves dishonest conduct that undermines trust in our democratic political system.
Keeping Them Honest points to the crucial absence of a federal integrity commission to expose corruption in government and public administration, and to hold wrongdoers to account. While the federal government promised to establish such a commission in 2018 (a promise since abandoned), Stephen Charles argues that, in any case, its insipid terms would protect – rather than expose – ethical breaches by federal politicians.
As well, as Catherine Williams reveals, there is an overwhelming need to deal with the dark side of Australia’s political system- the hidden influence of political donors and lobbyists, including the revolving door between lobbyists and former ministers; the absence of controls on electoral expenditure and political advertising; and the cavalier, unregulated expenditure of public money.
Keeping Them Honest explains what we need to do to expose political corruption, uphold accountability, and restore trust – and why we need to do it now.