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Reform the whole system to end political corruption

Media Release
Larissa Waters 9 Dec 2021

The Greens have announced a policy to reform the political system, clean up politics, and strengthen democracy. At the end of a bruising political year where the government remained unrepentant despite scandal after scandal, it’s clear a new approach is needed to restore public confidence in democracy.

The Greens have a plan to establish a strong, independent National Integrity Commission to hold politicians and public servants to account and to stop big corporations and the super rich from buying the political outcomes that favour them. Our Bill passed the Senate two years ago - in the time that has passed since, the case for an integrity commission has only gotten stronger.

But cleaning up politics is not just about weeding out corruption at the end. It’s about getting rid of the conditions that allow corruption and poor standards to flourish. The Greens will take a holistic approach to cleaning up politics by:

Cleaning up elections

  • Introducing laws to stop misinformation and disinformation undermining public trust and compromising public debate
  • Capping electoral spending so elections are not bought by parties with the deepest pockets
  • Banning donations from dirty industries, capping all other donations, and requiring real time disclosure so people know who is funding the parties and candidates they vote for
  • Initiating reforms to allow public servants and people in Australia with dual citizenship to run for election
  • Implementing strategies to encourage a more diverse range of people to run for election so that our parliament better reflects our community

Cleaning up parliament

  • Lifting parliamentary standards by implementing an enforceable Code of Conduct for all politicians and senior staff
  • Strengthening Register of Interest disclosure requirements
  • Strengthening the Lobbying Code of Conduct and publishing Ministers’ diaries, so we know who is influencing who
  • Strengthening FOI laws so the public has access to information about how decisions are made
  • Ensuring appointments to government agencies and advisory bodies are independent and based on merit
  • Investigating new ways for public voices to be heard in parliamentary decision-making, with a new Public Interest Democracy Fund.

Cleaning up corruption

  • Supporting the ANAO to audit relevant government programs to identify pork barrelling and corruption
  • Introducing a strong, independent integrity commission that will:
  1. Have a broad remit to investigate potentially corrupt behaviour and extensive investigation powers
  2. Make politicians subject to the same investigation and enforcement powers as other public sector agencies
  3. Be able to act on tips off from the public
  4. Be able to investigate past behaviour of politicians
  5. Hold public hearings, where it is in the public interest to do so
  6. Provide strong protections for whistleblowers and journalists

Stopping politicians from ‘cleaning up’ when they leave parliament

  • Stopping the revolving door between industry and politics with a stronger Lobbying Code of Conduct
  • Preventing Ministers taking roles in industries they used to regulate within 5 years of leaving parliament

Quotes attributable to Greens deputy leader and spokesperson on democracy Senator Larissa Waters:

“Community confidence in political leaders is at an all-time low after years of scandals. Australians no longer trust the government to act in anything other than their own interests and the interests of their dodgy mates.

“Cleaning up politics is a big job and needs to start from the ground up. We need to catch and punish corrupt politicians, but we also need to remove the conditions that allow corruption to fester in the first place.

“The Greens’ robust, comprehensive plan will restore confidence in our democracy and give Australia a parliament that reflects the community it represents and acts in the public interest, not the interests of big corporations and the super rich.

“The Greens’ National Integrity Commission is a gold standard model that will hold politicians and public servants to account, root out corruption where it occurs, and protect those who come forward to report it.

“Everyone benefits from a culture of honesty, integrity, transparency, and accountability in politics. It’s what people in Australia deserve, and only the Greens have a clear plan to deliver it.

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