Integrity in Government, Australia
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Integrity in Government, Australia
Concerning public trust, parliamentary reform, participatory democracy, integrity, accountability and related matters
Curated by Julia Thornton
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Budget's $45m slush fund for MPs is an unethical use of public money

Budget's $45m slush fund for MPs is an unethical use of public money | Integrity in Government, Australia | Scoop.it
'Better Communities' funding is supposedly non-partisan: every electorate gets $300,000 for local projects. But only incumbent MPs have a say in this spending and 60% of them are government members.
Julia Thornton's insight:

Ministerial discretion getting out of hand.

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Now that the East West Link is gone, let's replace it with better transport projects for Melbourne

Now that the East West Link is gone, let's replace it with better transport projects for Melbourne | Integrity in Government, Australia | Scoop.it
Governments rarely have the opportunity to line up good policy with good politics. This happy conjunction is open to the Andrews government if it does two things.
Julia Thornton's insight:

Time to upgrade IBACs  "follow the money" powers and allow it to investigate PPP's.

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Budget 2014: freedom of information framework faces radical surgery

Budget 2014: freedom of information framework faces radical surgery | Integrity in Government, Australia | Scoop.it
Budget papers show sweeping changes that will effectively abolish role of freedom of information commissioner
Julia Thornton's insight:

There appears to be a concerted effort by conservative Governments throughout Australia to abolish or reduce scrutiny measures.

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Christopher Mortimer's curator insight, April 17, 2015 7:17 AM

I'm not sure that this is the best way to streamline the FOI review process. It's essential to have an independent watchdog in place to make sure that Australian government institutions' operations and actions don’t cause harm or conflict with the public interest.

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Australia Joins the Open Government Partnership | The AGIMO website

Today the Australian Government Attorney General and Special Minister of State, the Hon Mark Dreyfus QC, has announced that Australia is joining the Open Government Partnership. This historic announcement brings Australia into a consortia of over 60 countries that are committed to:

“more transparent, effective and accountable governments — with institutions that empower citizens and are responsive to their aspirations” – OGP About Page.

Julia Thornton's insight:

Good to see!

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Are you sure about that? Fact-checking units - Media Report - ABC Radio National (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Are you sure about that? Fact-checking units - Media Report - ABC Radio National (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) | Integrity in Government, Australia | Scoop.it
Bill Adair from PolitiFact in the United States is in town to help training journalists in their very specific type of fact checking. He's working here with former Fairfax Editor in Chief Peter Fray.
Julia Thornton's insight:

More on fact checking.

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Model Global Parliament

Model Global Parliament | Integrity in Government, Australia | Scoop.it

A Model Global Parliament is envisaged as a democratically constituted global forum for both geopolitical regions and existing globally significant non-governmental networks to work together in...

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PM - Calls for independent investigations of police misconduct in Victoria 26/03/2013

PM - Calls for independent investigations of police misconduct in Victoria 26/03/2013 | Integrity in Government, Australia | Scoop.it
Victorian community lawyers are calling for changes to the law so that people bringing complaints against police have the option of an independent investigation rather than just a probe by the Victori...
Julia Thornton's insight:

If its not ok for the Catholic Church to escape independent investigation by relying on in-house investigation, why is it ok for investigation of police abuse to be in-house? Neither IBAC nor OPI have investigation rights against police misconduct.

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Richard Torbay resigns from NSW seat

Richard Torbay resigns from NSW seat | Integrity in Government, Australia | Scoop.it

NSW Independent MP Richard Torbay has resigned from his state seat of Northern Tablelands. The announcement comes after Mr Torbay was asked by The Nationals to pull out of the race for the federal seat of New England and resign from the party on Tuesday.

Julia Thornton's insight:

He has also disabled his Twitter account.

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NSW Labor - News - A new standard for Labor

NSW Labor - News - A new standard for Labor | Integrity in Government, Australia | Scoop.it

Any person found to have behaved corruptly will be expelled from the NSW Labor Party and factions will no longer be permitted to bind Members of Parliament, under changes announced by NSW Labor Opposition Leader John Robertson today.
 
The changes form part of 'A New Standard' for Labor and Government unveiled by Mr Robertson during an address to the Western Sydney Regional Assembly in Parramatta.

Julia Thornton's insight:

Can't come soon enough.

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Review of Freedom of Information laws | Attorney-General's Department

A review of the operation of the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act) and the Australian Information Act 2010 (IC Act) is being undertaken by Dr Allan Hawke AC, a former senior Australian Goverment public servant.

The review is required by section 93B of the FOI Act and section 33 of the IC Act.

The review will be completed by 30 April 2013 and a report of the review will be provided to the Attorney-General. The report will be tabled by the Attorney-General in the Parliament.

Julia Thornton's insight:

A disappointing number of submissions.

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SA may come clean on Lance cash

SA may come clean on Lance cash | Integrity in Government, Australia | Scoop.it
The amount of Australian taxpayer money paid to Lance Armstrong may yet be disclosed by a South Australian government under renewed pressure to declare how it lured the now-disgraced cyclist to Tour Down Under three times.
Julia Thornton's insight:

Financial transparency needed as well as drug transparency.

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Under-fire senator denies conflict of interest

Under-fire senator denies conflict of interest | Integrity in Government, Australia | Scoop.it
Liberal senator Cory Bernardi denies he has breached parliamentary disclosure rules by failing to declare his links to a right-wing, pro-tobacco group fighting gun controls.
Julia Thornton's insight:

His constituents must be wondering who comes first. Themselves or Bernardi's "ambassadorship" with ALEC. Not to mention the breach of Federal Parliamentary rules.

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Government faces probe on Lib meddling

Government faces probe on Lib meddling | Integrity in Government, Australia | Scoop.it
The Baillieu government faces the uncomfortable prospect of an official probe of Liberal meddling in local government in Melbourne's south-east.

 

"Fairfax Media understands that Labor chose to refer the Kingston matter to the Ombudsman rather than to government's independent broad-based anti-corruption commission (IBAC) in part because of the high threshold for a commission inquiry.

Under Mr Baillieu's controversial IBAC, only indictable offences can be investigated and whistleblower complaints about politicians are first handled by politicians.

The Baillieu government built its case for a new corruption-busting body on the back of the ''corrupt'' behaviour by Labor politicians, and around local council sagas such as Brimbank."


Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/government-faces-probe-on-lib-meddling-20130120-2d1cc.html#ixzz2IlNBfR22
Julia Thornton's insight:

Where is the Victorian Independent Broad based Anti -corruption Commission when you need it?

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Victoria needs better tools to fight corruption

Victoria needs better tools to fight corruption | Integrity in Government, Australia | Scoop.it
The Education Department is just one target known to require IBAC attention.
Julia Thornton's insight:

Politicians claim that Victoria is clean and does not need an anti-corruption commission with teeth. Here's the other view.

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Why ICAC powers to investigate corruption must be restored

Why ICAC powers to investigate corruption must be restored | Integrity in Government, Australia | Scoop.it
The High Court has hamstrung efforts to stop dishonesty involving public office.
Julia Thornton's insight:

From the Age article, "The High Court has found that corrupt conduct under the ICAC Act only occurs when a public official has acted dishonestly (without "probity"), and not when dishonest persons deceive innocent public officials. This means, for example, that ICAC cannot investigate allegations of serious and systemic fraud in state elections or in the making of applications for mining and other licences. Surely this is a perversion of the community's idea of what ICAC should be doing. It is important that this be remedied by the government."

 

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Parliament of Victoria - Electoral Matters

Parliament of Victoria Inquiry into the Impact of Social Media on Victorian Elections and Victoria’s Electoral Administration
Julia Thornton's insight:

To those who are committed to opening up government - here is an opportunity to counter any attempt to shut down social media contributions to political discussion and to advocate for the use of open media for greater transparency.

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ASIC blocks Melbourne Free University site, censoring internet | Crikey

Julia Thornton's insight:

ASIC and government agencies censoring the internet need oversight and transparency about their choices!

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Fact off: ABC and Fray’s PolitiFact dig into pollies’ spin –

Fact off: ABC and Fray’s PolitiFact dig into pollies’ spin – | Integrity in Government, Australia | Scoop.it
The ABC has announced a new team dedicated to checking up on pollies' spin, and US website PolitiFact is also opening an Australian division.
Julia Thornton's insight:

Not one, but two fact checker sites for Australia

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New website to rate politicians' facts

New website to rate politicians' facts | Integrity in Government, Australia | Scoop.it

A new political fact-checking website has launched with lofty plans to keep politicians honest and voters better informed.

PolitiFact Australia says it will fact-check claims by MPs, parties, candidates and other influential figures.

The website is the first international affiliate of Pulitzer prize-winning US site, PolitiFact.

Read more: http://www.canberratimes.com.au/it-pro/government-it/new-website-to-rate-politicians-facts-20130512-2jfyx.html#ixzz2TGn6AFz1
PolitiFact.com.au will rate political statements as true, mostly true, half true, mostly false and false.
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Watchdog says it can't investigate claim on Costello

Watchdog says it can't investigate claim on Costello | Integrity in Government, Australia | Scoop.it
Queensland's anti-corruption watchdog claims it does not have the powers to investigate a complaint made against former treasurer Peter Costello.
Julia Thornton's insight:

Joining the ranks of other anti corruption bodies that cannot properly investigate instances of corruption that may impinge on governments.

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Tony Windsor rival dumped by Nationals

Tony Windsor rival dumped by Nationals | Integrity in Government, Australia | Scoop.it
Richard Torbay has been dumped as the Nationals candidate for New England after information emerged he had previously accepted funding from Labor to run as a state independent against Nationals candidates.
Julia Thornton's insight:

It can ony be good for democracy if candidates are properly screened.

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Identifying political donors is only half the transparency story this election year

Identifying political donors is only half the transparency story this election year | Integrity in Government, Australia | Scoop.it
The release of political donation data from 2011—2012 has predictably generated headlines about who paid what to which Australian political parties over the past year.In line with the Commonwealth Electoral…...
Julia Thornton's insight:

Why cannot donations be listed on an "as you go" basis?

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Microsoft Crows About Its Privacy Program - But Australia Has Deep Concerns

Microsoft Crows About Its Privacy Program - But Australia Has Deep Concerns | Integrity in Government, Australia | Scoop.it
A Microsoft-sponsored survey says almost half of Web users felt like they had lost control of their own data - just days after the Australian government complained about the privacy implications of Microsoft's suggested data policies.

 

"But in an open letter to Microsoft sent January 15, the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner questioned whether Microsoft was really committed to privacy, based on a series of privacy summits the company organized last November. Specifically, the OAIC expressed "reservations" about one of the "discussion topics" Microsoft encouraged attendees to discuss."

Julia Thornton's insight:

Where privacy matters.

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The reports you are not allowed to see

The reports you are not allowed to see | Integrity in Government, Australia | Scoop.it
The Labor Party has accused Premier Ted Baillieu of hiding sensitive reports used to make some of the government's most controversial decisions - from sacking public servants and cutting TAFE funding, to keeping the troubled myki ticketing system.
Julia Thornton's insight:

Dificult to argue that this Government shows any increase in transparency. [

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Corruption body must investigate

Corruption body must investigate | Integrity in Government, Australia | Scoop.it

VICTORIA'S new anti-corruption body - IBAC - must investigate the reported use of their public positions by a Victorian state MP and her Kingston councillor son to subordinate the public interest (''Empress of the south-east'', Insight, 19/1). The actions fly in the face of the legal responsibilities of people elected to public office.

The High Court long ago established that elected office is a public office and as such the office-holders exercise a public trust. MPs and councillors must discharge that public trust by putting the public interest ahead of personal or other special interests.

Sadly, that public trust principle seems to have been forgotten, or never learnt, by too many in public office. However, the principle is central to democracy. It is the very basis upon which we cast our votes for those we believe will best serve our understanding of the public interest. If IBAC means anything, it must investigate and prosecute breaches of the public trust principle.

Associate Professor Ken Coghill, Monash University


Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/national/letters/corruption-body-must-investigate-20130122-2d5k8.html#ixzz2IlOqtjrU

The Peulichs' actions fly in the face of legal responsibilities of people elected to public office.

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