Democracy requires transparency and openness.
Governments have for too long kept Victorians in the dark about significant deals that benefit private companies and developers rather than all Victorians. Our state anti-corruption commission needs to be strengthened and we urgently need an independent body to ensure members of parliament do the right thing.
People are being turned off politics in large numbers. This is due in part to the scandals of members of parliament misusing their entitlements for personal gain but also the sense that our democracy is being run for and by corporations, not people.
Secrecy has been the hallmark of this Labor Government. Secret deals with toll road companies. Secret deals to sell off Federation Square for an Apple Mega Store. Secret deals to sell off public housing, the Port of Melbourne and the Land Titles Office. It must stop. Democracy requires transparency and openness.
Victoria’s anti-corruption commission (IBAC) needs to be strengthened to better protect our community. In particular, the Greens have long called for the investigation of any death, serious injury or human rights complaint that results from contact with the police to be investigated by an independent body, not by the internal ‘police investigating police’ process that is currently in place.
While the Greens welcomed recent political donations reform laws, we maintain that a fairer election system must include caps on expenditure. Furthermore, the restrictions on donations must be extended to local council elections.
It is also long overdue that the Victorian Parliament has an independent body to monitor members of parliament and ensure they are meeting parliamentary standards and doing the right thing.
To strengthen our democracy and increase integrity in our political system, the Greens will:
- Prevent governments from hiding behind commercial-in-confidence in relation to large infrastructure projects and provide greater transparency by reforming Freedom of Information laws.
- Put corruption and other misconduct in public office offences in the Criminal Code and strengthen anti-corruption laws including ensuring the police can no longer investigate themselves.
- Establish an Independent Parliamentary Standards Commissioner to ensure parliamentarians comply with the rules.
- Strengthen political donations laws by including expenditure caps and extend donation caps to Local Councillors and Council elections.
- Legislate a cooling-off period for Ministers and their staff before they can work in industries and areas or for corporations they had significant dealings with.