The Alan Missen Award – ANDREW WILKIE MP 2017
Andrew Wilkie, who entered Federal Parliament in 2010, it been a strong, articulate and fearless advocate for issues of transparency and good governance.
Supporting the principles and practice of transparent and accountable government
In the 43rd Parliament he played a major role in securing whistle-blower protection for people in the public service and government agencies.
In the 44th Parliament he questioned the Government on the increasing secrecy of security activity flowing from the grant of unreviewable powers of the executive, inadequate safeguards for, and limits on, people’s rights, and the protection of sources of Members of Parliament and the media.
He sought the reform of war powers, challenged the sending of troops to Iraq in June 2014 and sought a debate on the issue and later an inquiry into the Iraq war.
Contributing effectively and constructively to parliamentary debate, committee deliberations and/or policy development in a way that promotes and/or support good parliamentary practice and the institutions of Parliament
He engaged in questions, parliamentary debate and speeches including challenging specific appropriations that made things worse for the poorest and most disadvantaged, calling on the ALP, Greens and Independents to join him. He also introduced six private members’ bills on topics ranging from the treatment of asylum seekers to problem gambling and migration, and with six others co-sponsored the Marriage Legislation Amendment Bill of 2015, promoting marriage equality. He served on the Australia Fund Establishment Committee.
Pursuing a change in government policy or practice whether generally or in response to a constituency issue or injustice.
Areas he addressed included climate change, an end to the export of live animals, Defence Force retirement benefits (but not for serving Parliamentarians to avoid a conflict of interest); mental health; education and the impact of certain decisions on his home state, Tasmania. Other issues he raised were funding to assist the transportation of people and goods across Bass Strait; forestry research; proposed funding cuts in health and education and family support programs for the disadvantaged, funding of CSIRO, the University of Tasmania and the Arts; and the possible sell-off of the Hearing Services Programme. In gambling, he opposed government proposals that weakened previously set limits on poker machine use and gave support for addressing problem gambling.
Protecting peoples’ political and civil rights
Andrew Wilkie opposed proposals denying people’s rights of access to the legal system for environmental protection and biodiversity conservation. He also attempted to stop changes being made that would take away the rights of people seeking asylum to have access, if refused by government, to an independent review. Subsequently he introduced a Bill that would make major changes to the system, address Australia’s breaches of the refugee conventions, and restore the right of access to the AAT for asylum seekers with adverse security assessments.
Throughout, he demonstrated an outstanding commitment to the public interest in the performance of his role and with honesty, civility, independence and political courage.