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.