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Revamp politicians' entitlement audit and public report process: telling the truth on telecards.

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Senator Andrew Murray Senator for Western Australia Australian Democrats spokesperson for Accountability

Press Release Dated: 12 Oct 2000 Press Release Number: 00/642 Portfolio: Accountability 

Revamp politicians’ entitlement audit and public report process: Telling the Truth on Telecards Telling the Truth on Telecards

The Democrats have called for an independent Commissioner of Ethics for the parliament.

In parliament this week there has been considerable controversy surrounding the issue of entitlements and Ministerial Conduct, said Senator Andrew Murray, Accountability Spokesperson for the Australian Democrats.

“We need to look at this from two separate angles. The first is the general principles that should be applied and the second is the specific case referred to,” he said.

“The first general principle is how breaches of Parliamentary or Ministerial conduct and ethics should be dealt with. The Democrats Charter of Political Honesty Bill recommends the establishment of an Office of Commissioner for Ministerial and Parliamentary Ethics. The Commissioner would develop codes of conduct to set public standards, administer them, and make recommendations arising from transgressions.

“It is essential that instead of the Prime Minister adjudicating on a colleague, that an independent and impartial officer adjudicate instead.

“Secondly, all members and senators’ entitlements should be capable of separate identification in Management Reports, should have clear auditing and bench marking processes attached to them, and should be transparent - in other words publicly available in regular reports. They must also be capable of justification and enforcement.

“As in past controversies with entitlements, these principles were not observed with regard to government telecards.

“Turning to the specific instance of Minister Reith and his government telecard, the Australian Democrats believe that no judgement can be made until the Solicitor General has reported.

“It is essential that future processes concerning government telecards ensure full accountability and that the entitlements rules are enforced,” Senator Murray said.


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