Why we desperately need an anti-corruption watchdog

Polling shows overwhelming support for an anti-corruption watchdog.

Time to demand a federal ICAC

New polling from The Australia Institute suggests that Australians overwhelmingly support the establishment of a national anti-corruption watchdog.

The study shows that 88 per cent of Australians support a federal Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC), increasing from 80 per cent in March this year and up from 65 per cent in March 2016.

It isn’t surprising that the public has become worried about the independence of its politicians in recent times.

Recently we have seen the Australian Tax Office release figures on some of the biggest Australian companies that somehow managed to avoid paying any tax in the last financial year. Almost all of those companies made big financial donations to both the Liberal and Labor parties.

We have also seen both the Liberal and Labor parties falling over themselves to try to give $1 billion to the Adani coal mine project after receiving large donations from Adani. Fortunately, the Queensland election forced the state Labor Party to commit to vetoing the loan at the start of the campaign and the best interest of Queenslanders eventually won the day.

Even more recently, we have seen serious questions raised about foreign political donations in the wake of the Sam Dastyari scandal, which eventually forced the disgraced senator to resign on Tuesday.

Dastyari resigned because of continued pressure over his links to China, including to businessman Huang Xiangmo. The ABC has now revealed that Mr Huang has made significant donations to several Liberal Party politicians, including Finance Minister Mathias Cormann, Christopher Pyne and Michael Sukkar.

The federal Labor Party stopped taking foreign political donations last year, but the Liberal Party continues to take money from many sources.

Whenever the issue of a national anti-corruption body has been raised, both the Coalition and Labor Party have shied away from the idea, but their excuses are looking increasingly self-serving.

If politicians want to gain the trust of the public in the decision-making process, an anti-corruption watchdog is a must.

The Australia Institute survey reveals that 85 per cent of respondents said a national ICAC would increase trust in Parliament if it could hold public hearings and investigate all holders of public office, including politicians.

Would you support the establishment of a national anti-corruption watchdog?

Sign The Australia Institute’s petition for a federal ICAC.

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    COMMENTS

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    floss
    14th Dec 2017
    10:33am
    They are not political donations they are a straight out bribe at least the Labor party has banned overseas donations the ball is in your court M.T. to ban ALL donations.Thank god that little germ Dastyarie has been removed, that behaviour may be the go where he came from but not in Australia.
    Puglet
    14th Dec 2017
    2:57pm
    Oh dear Floss we have such short memories! We have had the saga of the Rolex watches; the same bloke who ‘donated’ to Dastyari gave 20,000 to ‘Cormorant’, and then we have the hundreds of thousands donated by the Chinese to the parties apart from the Greens. Robb was collecting an 800,000 salary from the Chinese at the same time as he was being paid by the taxpayer. Barnacle Bill collected enormous amounts of money in salaries and allowances when he was not entitled to be a Parliament. He has never offered to give it back. We mustn’t forget Poorlean who forgets to notify parliament about her tax payer trips to the GBReef and her plane. We have the glorious Julie foundation who does parliamentary business when she is a guest of the mega rich. We pay for those designer clothes. As far as I am concerned they are as bad as each other - a pox on all of their Houses!
    GeorgeM
    15th Dec 2017
    12:10am
    Absolutely agree, Puglet. There are also various forms of corruption as you have noted e.g. Robb getting a job from the Chinese for not doing much straight after retiring. Also, note that Keating, Carr, maybe many more, work for the Chinese as well. Retired politicians must also be stopped from using their past positions as it is an incentive for them to favour such companies in preparation for life after parliament.

    We also have the local Australian companies who pay very little or no taxes as the article has noted (not just foreign companies) - needs strong tax rules to stop this but guess who won't create them - both Liberal / National & Labor!

    Politicians setting their own fancy pensions, salaries & perks must also be stopped - that itself is corruption.

    A Federal ICAC is a MUST. However, all this will not happen unless the People take it into their hands to vote all current seat-warmers out by putting them last in preferences.
    4b2
    14th Dec 2017
    11:13am
    I live in Bennalog, never have I seen so much interest in an election. Probably never will again. So many text mesages from the Libs. How did they get mt email number? Am I under Surveillance? Why no further outcry about the Julie Bishop Glorious Foundation set up by another chinese mining Millionaire. But she denied it so its all OK? What BS. So much for Innocent until proven guilty. One rule for those born to rule and another for the rest of us.
    jackie
    14th Dec 2017
    11:51am
    They will need to clean out the entire Parliament. Their ridiculous salaries, perks, benefits and pensions should be reviewed too.

    14th Dec 2017
    12:26pm
    People who whinge about pollies pay packets should remember that if you pay peanuts you end up with monkeys (look at the present federal opposition - couldn't organize a chook raffle!). But yes, look at the rorts two of the last three leaders of the Labor Party have got up to, in Gillard and Shorten. Both subject of Royal Commissions, and both not exonerated for their 'breeches'. What a fiasco - they have got the most to lose from an Anti corruption body. And their Victorian state colleagues have written the book in how to circumvent scrutiny of dubious dealings.
    Strummer
    16th Dec 2017
    9:06am
    No need to ask where your political affiliations lie Big Al
    mr.auspicious
    14th Dec 2017
    12:34pm
    Here is the dilemma - the introduction of another corruption busting authority is at best a
    band aid solution designed to restore confidence in a system that is well past its use by
    date. A federal ICAC will create more bureaucracy for a system already overloaded with
    red tape and at a time when greater benefits could be derived by establishing uniform
    codes to facilitate efficient delivery of health, education, mineral and resource
    development, infrastructure and power generation etc.etc.
    Of course corrupt political behaviour has to be dealt with, wherever and whenever
    evidence can be presented. This could be achieved by extending the powers of the
    Federal Attorney General.

    14th Dec 2017
    12:35pm
    Yes, a national ICAC is needed but as it will affect the federal politicians it won't happen. The only time these people agree on anything is when a pay rise is offered or when a national ICAC is mooted.

    Slightly off topic but also another area that is badly in need of a cleanout is the laws on political advertising. We have stringent laws on truth in advertising except for political parties which tell lies before any election. As soon as any government comes to power the promises are shelved with the excuse that the previous government didn't disclose the full state of the treasury. Again, that too is a lie.
    MON
    14th Dec 2017
    1:18pm
    The key word is 'Independent' which translates into ' devoid of external influence' which regretably I suspect will be difficult, if not impossible, to achieve. The brief for such an organisation must include the unions, which are the funding arm of the Labor party and, the Labor party is the
    Retail shopfloor of the unions. Each day that the leader of the Labor Party enters the chamber, their immediate thought is, 'what must I and my party do to achieve the instructions of the unions'.

    Sadly I believe the desire for an independent anti-corruption watchdog is set to fail. If it is established un the LNP it will be neutered or dismantled under Labor.
    Young Simmo
    14th Dec 2017
    2:18pm
    Before we worry about a anti-corruption watchdog, we need somebody to straighten out our Judges and Magistrates. They are letting off people who bash and kill, with suspended sentences, or 1 or 3 years. Young people, walk into the court and out with big smiles on their faces as they plan their next robbing and bashing. If these offences started happening to Judges and Magistrates, I am sure they would get some brains from somewhere. I have
    a bit of security in a water pistol full of bleach, and if they end up blind, that's better than me being dead. Anybody agree with me?????

    14th Dec 2017
    2:27pm
    Great idea but good luck getting labors support in parliament
    Labor has too much to lose
    floss
    14th Dec 2017
    3:39pm
    Yes Puglet the whole lot are rotten to the core Dick Smith may be the one to support,he will at least put Australia first not the way this country is being plundered by Multinationals . And the gap just keeps getting bigger.

    14th Dec 2017
    4:57pm
    Somebody needs to keep an eye on the politicians and others with the power.
    Strummer
    16th Dec 2017
    9:12am
    One of the main reasons we get rubbish politicians is people who vote according to the colour of the candidates tie. If we were a little more careful about who we allow to got to the trough perhaps we'd get a better result. A business that employed it's staff without even enquiring as to what their skills are wouldn't last very long.


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