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Wednesday, 3 April 2019
Page: 854


Senator STORER (South Australia) (11:58): I move:

(1) That the Senate adopts the following Parliamentary Transparency Charter:

Parliamentary Transparency Charter

Preamble

Transparency is essential for a well-functioning democracy. The (House of Representatives and the) Senate commit to pursuing the following transparency reforms to improve the integrity of, and public confidence in, our national government.

Reforms

National Integrity Commission

Establish an independent National Integrity Commission to oversee the activities of public officials and empowered to conduct public hearings and make public findings of fact.

Real-time disclosure of political donations above $1,000

Amend political donation laws to require disclosure of donations above $1,000 by recipients in as close to 'real-time' as practical.

Enhanced freedom of information arrangements

Boost funding to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner and FOI units within departments and agencies and improve FOI review processing times.

Enhanced whistleblower protections

Further consolidate the whistleblower protection regime and enhance existing whistleblower protections.

Overhaul lobbyist rules

Legislate lobbying code of conduct and require lobbyists to disclose who they meet with and the subject matter of their meeting on a monthly basis. Expand lobbyist register to include in-house lobbyists.

Conduct standards for parliamentarians

Develop a Statement of Parliamentarian Standards, modelled on the Statement of Ministerial Standards, applicable to all parliamentarians.

Parliamentary Integrity Commissioner

Establish an independent Parliamentary Integrity Commissioner, empowered to enforce standards of parliamentary conduct, oversee interest disclosure requirements and deal with allegations of misuse of public funds, blatant falsehoods in political advertising, and breaches of lobbyist rules.

(2) That this resolution be communicated to the House of Representatives for concurrence.

I seek leave to make a short statement and to table a document.

The PRESIDENT: You'll need to get the document to the whips for them to see it in order to get leave. Leave is granted for one minute for the statement.

Senator STORER: Public confidence in our federal politics is at an all-time low. With scandal after scandal involving corruption, misuse of public funds, political donations, unregulated lobbyists and attacks on whistleblowers, it's no wonder people are fed up. My parliamentary transparency charter aims to improve the integrity of, and public confidence in, our national government. It represents common sense, achievable and deeply needed reform.

Sixteen crossbenchers from both the House and the Senate, representing different ideological backgrounds, have signed the charter and committed to pursuing its reform. The public should know who they are: Cathy McGowan; Andrew Wilkie; Adam Bandt; Senators Griff, Patrick and Burston; and all nine senators from the Australian Greens. If the crossbenchers can put aside our differences and recognise that this reform is needed in our politics, why can't the major parties? To be clear, this motion would pass if just one of the major parties voted for it; we would have the numbers. In the lead-up to the election, the public will know who in this chamber is committed to meaningful reform that will restore belief in our federal politics and who is not. I implore my Senate colleagues to realise— (Time expired)