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Friday, October 03, 2014

Accountability Roundtable raises the trust deficit in lead up to Victorian election

Colleen Lewis on The Conversation writes that the Accountability Roundtable has sent a letter (with detailed attachments) to the leaders of Victoria’s major political parties seeking a pre-election commitment to act on three serious issues after the November 29 poll. The Roundtable seeks a commitment to support:
  1. Giving greater powers to Victoria’s Independent Broad Based Anti-Corruption Commission (IBAC)
  2. Holding an inquiry into public funding of political parties, individual members of parliament and political candidates
  3. Strengthening the public’s right to know, with improved Freedom of Information rules.
The Accountability Roundtable draws attention to excessive secrecy and heightened concern about opportunities for corruption as well as the fact that open and accountable government is critical for economic growth, reflected in the expansion of the Open Government Partnership to 64 countries in three years (and on which the Federal government continues to maintain stony silence).

The Roundtable urges action to give effect to the long standing, but forgotten, common law and ethical principle that public office is a public trust, and that holders of public office must, in exercising the powers entrusted to them, give priority to the public interest over their personal interests.
Effective laws properly administered are crucial ingredients in the mix but FOI in Victoria is stuck in the dark ages. Both this government and Labor when it had the chance haven't done much to bring it into the 21st century. The Greens can point to a long consistent record of advocating change but with no opportunity so far to bring those changes about. 

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