Monday, 24 February 2020
That the Senate—
(a) notes that:
(i) former Liberal Opposition Leader, Dr John Hewson, in an article published in the Sydney Morning Herald on 13 February 2020, called on all political parties to fix weaknesses in the parliamentary system, rather than seeking to exploit them, and
(ii) Dr Hewson identified a 6 point plan to clean up politics:
(A) public funding for election campaigns and limits on campaign spending,
(B) transparency around lobbying, including real-time disclosure of all ministerial meetings,
(C) truth in advertising legislation,
(D) introduce penalties for false, deceptive, and misleading conduct by parliamentarians,
(E) independent standards for candidates, and
(F) a fully funded Independent Commission Against Corruption to oversee all activities of our politicians, bureaucrats and federal government, with the capacity to receive anonymous references; and
(b) calls on the Federal Government to listen to their former leader and take action to implement Dr Hewson's plan.
All Australians are entitled to participate in the democratic process, including by financially supporting candidates and political parties. Australia has an appropriately robust system to regulate the disclosure and reporting of political donations. The government is committed to introducing a Commonwealth integrity commission that has the powers and resources it needs to be effective while also avoiding the pitfalls identified in the Greens proposal. The government CIC includes $106.7 million of new money committed in the last budget, nearly double what the Labor Party was prepared to commit. An exposure draft of the legislation to establish the CIC will be released for public consultation soon.
Labor has a strong record on both electoral reform and maintaining the integrity of our parliamentary system. Public funding of elections, practical donation reform and strengthening our independent election commission are all key priorities for this parliament. However, Labor doesn't need advice from former Liberal leaders and as such will be opposing the motion.
One Nation will be opposing this. While we agree with the intent and the need for increased integrity, we do not believe that Dr Hewson, who has been a failure in politics, has the right to tell us what to do.