The minimum actions to restore Parliamentary integrity
Action to restore open and accountable government at a Federal level1. Parliamentary reform
a) Independent presiding officers in both houses
b) Reforms to question time to enable it to function as part of the accountability process
c) Confirmation of Parliament’s right to call the staff of Ministers and Parliamentary Secretaries to give evidence and repudiation of the so-called “McMullan Principle”.
d) Ensuring adequate resourcing of Opposition and other parties and independent members.
2. Strengthening ethics and the integrity of government
a) Appointment of a Parliamentary Standards Commissioner to advise and inform members and the Parliament on ethical matters
b) Strengthening of the present code for ministerial conduct and ministerial staff and enacting it as legislation so that its content will in future be under the control of the Parliament and not the Executive (detailed proposals in preparation).
c) Establishing a comprehensive general Integrity Commission to which any concerns about corruption or serious misconduct in government and the use of government funds may be referred
d) Establishing a coordinating body to coordinate the activities of the Integrity Commission, the Ombudsman, Auditor-General, and other integrity bodies and to review the state of Integrity in government, to report to the Parliament
e) Each body to report to the Parliament and to be subject to the scrutiny of the Parliament
f) Enactment of the proposed Whistleblower Protection Bill
3. Action to reduce campaign finance threats to the Integrity of the Parliament
a) Reform funding of Parties and candidates, including
• severely limiting private donations and requiring their disclosure within two working days of receipt by party or candidate and by donor
• capping campaign expenditure,
• reliance on public funding of campaign expenditure,
b) Revise the Code of Conduct relating to lobbying activity by
• requiring registration of those engaged in any form of lobbying activity and disclosure within one working day of the occurrence of any form of lobbying activity by all parties(giving details of the people involved and the topics discussed)
• banning, for a period of five years after retirement, former ministers, parliamentary secretaries and their staff in any direct or indirect involvement in lobbying activity, and
• enacting the revised Code in legislation to ensure that its content is controlled in the future by the Parliament and not the Executive