National Integrity Commission and a Code of Ethics for Australian Federal Politicians
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Dear South Australian Senators Patrick & Griffin and Tasmanian Senator Jacqui Lambie,
We the undersigned are requesting that you please introduce a Private Members Bill into the Australian Senate for the legislating of a Code of Ethics for anyone nominating for election to - or serving as a Member of Australia's Federal Houses of Parliament.
We also ask that Legislation for a strong National Integrity Commission or Federal Independent Commission Against Corruption be introduced at the same time - or soon afterwards.
Much STRONGER than the model the current Liberal National Government is proposing.
Many of us who signed are subject to our own employers' Code of Conduct or Code of Ethics. We are expected to abide by this Code or be disciplined - or even have our employment terminated if we do not abide by our employer's Code.
Governments all over Australia insist Public Sector workers are employed under Codes of Ethics and Codes of Conduct yet the elected Ministers who run their departments are not.
This can put Government Senior Managers in a difficult situation, as it has been reported in the media that some Members of Parliament - have used the termination of Department Heads as a way of convincing department subordinates to perhaps re-think their ideas of what is considered Ethical Behaviour.
Ministers are currently subjected to a Ministerial Code by the Prime Minister of the time - but the strength and enforcement of this rests solely with that Prime Minster and is influenced and even weakened by the Prime Minister's popularity and strength within Cabinet.
However this Ministerial Code does not cover back-bench Members of Parliament, Political Parties or Independent Members of Parliament. Also people who nominate for Parliament are not subjected to any easily determined or written standard of what constitutes a person of good character.
We also think a Code of Ethics for ALL Members of Parliament no matter what their ranking and all nominees for Election to Parliament would make it much easier for a future NIC or Federal ICACto determine when Ethical Conduct has been breached.
We are aware there was a Senate Committee who looked into this a some time ago but recommended that a Code of Ethical Standards would not improve the public's view of Politicians. However recent questions about closed Government Tenders and possible Conflicts of Interest among Ministers, has in our opinion made a Code of Ethics AND a NIC or Federal ICAC essential, as we the community wonder WHO if anyone, is going to investigate these kinds of allegations.
We also consider that the behaviour and tactics of some of the people who nominated for election to our Federal Parliament at the 2019 Federal Election would NOT be considered ethical - based on the Codes of Ethics many of us have to sign to be employed in OUR jobs.
If elected and found to be in breach of a Parliamentary Code of Ethics - these people could be removed from our Parliament or at the very least, exposed publicly and given serious sanctions for their unethical behaviour.
This is why we consider the introduction of a Parliamentary Code of Ethics is a major priority for the preservation of our future democracy.
We believe that you as Senators, have exhibited Ethical Behaviour in the past and will continue to do so - which is why we think you are the ideal elected members to introduce such Legislation into our Parliament.
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