The coronavirus pandemic has resulted in the greatest expansion of executive power in generations. Yet the evidence supporting these powers and the decisions made by government are not transparent or subject to parliamentary scrutiny.
ART Chair, Fiona McLeod AO SC said today:
The current unchecked expansion of executive powers is alarming. Australians are asked to trust that new laws are just and fair, and that the spending of vast sums of public funds are justified and well-targeted. When public trust is at an all-time low,a governmental plea for more trust while doing nothing to ensure that it is earned is alarmingly hollow. It is vital that parliament has mechanisms to hold governments to account.
ART Director the Hon Barry Jones AC said:
The sharp increase in executive power has been accepted with a shrug in Australia, seen as a regrettable necessity. But we should be alarmed if this unchecked power is matched by a decline in public scrutiny.
Ms McLeod said:
We call upon parliament to resume the normal conduct of business, virtually if necessary, as is occurring elsewhere throughout the world. Our petitions to all parliaments across Australia send a message that public office is a public trust. It encompasses an obligation to act courageously, with transparency and accountability.
ART is a non-partisan organisation comprised of former parliamentarians, judges academics, business people and citizens interested in ensuring the delivery of accountability, transparency and openness in government, across the Commonwealth public sector and in relation to matters that involve contractual arrangements with the private and public sectors.
Fiona McLeod AO SC, email@example.com, 0412 288 987