The Australia Institute is surveying every federal MP and Senator on their values of accountability and integrity as momentum builds for a national anti-corruption body along the lines of the NSW ICAC.
The Fitzgerald Principles survey asks parliamentarians a range of questions, including if they are ethically obliged to act always in the public interest, spend public money only for public benefit, and not use their public position for private benefit.
The questions politicians are asked to answer are derived from a recent article by Tony Fitzgerald AC QC, a former judge who led an inquiry into corruption in Queensland, which referred to a crisis of political accountability and public trust.
“Politics today is a clash of interests, not ideas. The established parties, which receive large sums of public money to finance their campaigns, are controlled by professional, “whatever it takes” politicians driven by self-interest and ideology and addicted to vested interest funding,” said Mr Fitzgerald.
“The “winning is all that matters” conduct from politicians affects community attitudes. Australian society is gradually becoming less egalitarian and more cynical and self-centered as economic policies redistribute wealth upwards, widening the gap between “haves” and “have-nots” and producing a largely powerless underclass.”
“Politicians will find it impossible to regain public trust unless they behave like normal, honourable people: treat everyone equally, tell the truth, explain decisions, and act only in the public interest.”
“The public has a right to know the values of their representatives, particularly with regard to transparency, accountability and good governance – essential elements of a healthy and robust democracy and strong economic performance.”
The Fitzgerald Principles survey is currently with our federal parliamentarians, with results due on the 14th June 2017.