Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Party elder John Faulkner urges ALP integrity reforms, ONE STRIKE AND YOUR OUT!

ANY member of the ALP's scandal-plagued NSW branch found guilty of corruption would be expelled from the party, parliamentarians freed from having to vote along factional lines and party rules subject to legal challenge under broad integrity reforms championed by Senator John Faulkner.
Taking aim at the odious state of the ALP in his home state, Senator Faulkner said a culture had developed within Labor's NSW branch where "being caught out at sharp practices is worn almost as a badge of honour". He urged the adoption of a "one strike and you're out" policy towards corrupt conduct, declaring "our party would be immeasurably better off without such people".
Speaking at an integrity in government conference in Melbourne, Labor's elder statesman referred to the ICAC hearings in Sydney, which have heard explosive allegations that former Labor MP Eddie Obeid and his family benefitted from as much as $100 million from inside information about land deals.
"It is time to publicly acknowledge that there have been some in our party's ranks with neither political principles nor moral convictions to uphold," Senator Faulkner said.
He said to improve accountability and integrity within the party, the NSW branch needed to embrace fundamental reform to reduce the influence of the factions.
"In the case of the ALP, and particularly the NSW branch, the increasing limitation of those involved in decisions about rules, disputes, and preselections, as well as policy, has meant that our party's actions reflect the stunted perspectives of just a few," Senator Faulkner said.
"I have said before that there is nothing wrong with people who share convictions on policy issues working together to progress those issues. There is, however, a great deal wrong with a situation where a Russian doll of nested caucuses sees a tiny minority of MPs exercising a controlling interest over the majority."
Senator Faulkner said the practice of "factional binding", where MPs are compelled to vote in line with what their factions decide, was inherently undemocratic and should be abolished.
He said the actions and decisions of the NSW ALP should be able to be challenged by individual members in a court of law, the "machinery committees" that now resolve disputes over party rules should be scrapped and replaced by an appeals tribunal comprised of "eminent, ethical people, independent of the factions".
In a lengthy address, Senator Faulkner called for the Gillard government to replace the commonwealth's "limited and inadequate" whisteblower protections with new public interest disclosure laws that would apply across the public service and adopt a code of conduct for all federal MPs.
"I can see no justification for there being no code which sets out the applicable ethics standards for my conduct as a federal parliamentarian," he said.

Party elder John Faulkner urges ALP integrity reforms | The Australian:

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