John Faulkner Calls For Better Governance Of Parliament, Public Service And The ALP

Senator John Faulkner has delivered a wide-ranging speech on political integrity and called for reforms to the parliament, public service, political parties and election funding.

John FaulknerFaulkner spoke at a conference at the University of Melbourne. He called for finalisation of the National Anti Corruption Plan, legislation protecting public interest disclosure, the introduction of a Code of Conduct for MPs, the Commonwealth to support the Open Government Partnership, electoral funding reform and improved accountability witin political parties.

Faulkner also offered a plan to improve democracy and integrity in the ALP. He proposed that party rules be subject to the courts and that all party disputes in NSW should be taken out of the hands of bodies controlled by factions. He called for rank-and-file preselection ballots for Senate and Legislative Council positions, a ‘one strike and you’re out’ policy for party members found guilty of corruption, and a Charter of Rights for members.

Transcript of Senator John Faulkner’s speech to the Integrity In Government Conference at the University of Melbourne Law School.

Political Integrity: The Parliament, the Public Service, and the Parties

No-one ever argues that governments should have less integrity, that elected officials should not be accountable, or that public servants should behave unethically. Broad statements of the value of integrity, transparency, accountability and ethics gain general agreement from all sides of politics and from all participants in public debate.

But government integrity demands more than general expressions of goodwill. Enhancing transparency and accountability requires supportive structures as well as declarations of priorities. And cultivating ethical behaviour needs more than simple, sweeping statements of expectations.

Nor is integrity in government and in politics simply a declaration of the importance of individuals behaving ethically.

Of course, they should behave ethically. But, ladies and gentlemen, human nature is variable, and fallible. Individuals do, from time to time, succumb to temptation or fall into error. As the eminent thinker, French renaissance essayist Michel de Montaigne said more than four hundred years ago, “There is no man so good that if he placed all his actions and thought under the scrutiny of the laws, he would not deserve hanging ten times in his life.” [Read more…]