Why we need an inquiry into our Covid-19 response

Written by George Williams, Centre board member and University of New South Wales deputy vice-chancellor and professor of law. Originally published in the Australian on March 20 2022. The extreme measures deployed by governments to combat Covid-19 have produced white-hot anger in parts of the community. Vaccination mandates, border closures and lockdowns have fuelled protest… Read More

Clive Palmer spends 100 times more than major parties on advertising

Clive Palmer has spent more than $31 million since August on political attack advertising for his United Australia Party, dwarfing the outlay of the major parties and putting him on track to fulfil his promise to run the most expensive election campaign in the nation’s history. The advertising blitz in the lead-up to an expected… Read More

Rules on political donations must be tightened to restore trust

Written by Centre board member, George Williams, professor of law at the University of NSW. Originally published in the Australian on 7/3/22 State politics has yet again been tainted by crooked donations. The Independent Commission Against Corruption made findings of corruption last week against people including former NSW Labor MP Ernest Wong over attempts to… Read More

Federal anti-corruption commission ruled out before election as government refuses to introduce bill

Written by ABC political reporter Matthew Doran and originally published on February 7 2022 A national anti-corruption commission will not be established before the next federal election. Prime Minister Scott Morrison first announced a Commonwealth Integrity Commission (CIC) in December 2018, alongside then attorney-general Christian Porter.  Despite years of consultation and draft legislation being released,… Read More

Steggall misstep highlights urgent need for political donation reform

Written by Han Aulby, executive director at the Centre for Public Integrity. Originally published in the Age Feb 15 2022 This week’s revelation that Independent MP Zali Steggall did not disclose the source of a $100,000 donation from the Kinghorn Family Trust shows that the problem of hidden money in politics goes beyond the major… Read More

Breaking election promise on integrity commission could prove costly

Written by Rob Harris on Feb 7 2022. Originally published in the Age. The chances of a long-promised federal integrity commission being established by May could well be a neat analogy with Scott Morrison’s current predicament. The clock is ticking and there mightn’t be much time left. An admission from federal Attorney-General Michaelia Cash on… Read More

Coalition has time for integrity bill: PM

Written by Georgie Moore AAP. Originally published: 07/02/2022 Scott Morrison has indicated there’s still time for the federal government to bring on its legislation for an integrity commission, as his attorney-general insists it cannot act without Labor’s support. The government is prioritising its bill to boost discrimination protections for religious Australians over a Commonwealth Integrity… Read More

Labor says PM ‘cannot be trusted’ as Cash shelves integrity commission pledge

Written by David Crowe and originally published in the Age on February 7, 2022 Labor leader Anthony Albanese will go to the election telling voters the only way to ensure integrity in politics is to elect a new government after Attorney-General Michaelia Cash shelved a promise made three years ago to create a federal anti-corruption… Read More

How we can level the playing field on political donations

Written by the Centre for Public Integrity’s Executive Director, Han Aulby, and Research Director, Dr Catherine Williams. Originally published on Feb 2 2022 Continuing his trend of exposing the weaknesses of Australia’s democracy, Clive Palmer recently announced that his United Australia Party will run the most expensive campaign in Australian history at this year’s election, surpassing the… Read More

Law firms make big donations to the Labor Party

Written by Michael Kelly and originally published in the Australian Financial Review on Feb 3 2022 Holding Redlich was the biggest law firm donor to political parties in 2020-21, with its administrative arm – Justice Services Pty Ltd – contributing more than $130,000 to the Labor Party. Big contributions during the Queensland state election pushed… Read More

Hidden money: Political parties rake in $68 million from mystery sources

More than $68 million in unexplained money flooded into political parties in the past financial year, making up almost 40 per cent of all donations, with integrity advocates warning the secrecy around who donates to Australia’s political powerbrokers must end. An analysis from the Centre for Public Integrity published on Friday found the hidden money,… Read More

Almost a quarter of political donations come from ‘handful’ of sources as Anthony Pratt tops list

Former top judge Anthony Whealy, who now heads an independent think tank, said the top 10 donors funded almost a quarter of all donations, but a significant portion of political funding was “shrouded in secrecy.” Businessman Anthony Pratt was the biggest political donor in the last financial year, handing almost $1.3 million to the Liberal… Read More

Political donation data feeds reform call

Nearly a quarter of all political donations across the 2020/21 financial year came from just 10 sources, renewing calls for reform. Newly published Australian Electoral Commission data shows the Liberal and National parties reaped nearly $84 million combined, while Labor received more than $67.3 million Just 10 donors accounted for more than $4.2 million, or… Read More

Coalition boosts donations ahead of election, electoral commission figures reveal

The Liberal, National and Labor parties have strengthened their financial positions ahead of this year’s federal election, with big money flowing from the resources and pharmaceutical/medical sectors. But the source of the vast majority of funding going to political parties and campaigners is hidden from the public under existing disclosure laws, with just $17.9 million… Read More

Anthony Pratt gave Liberals $1.3m while upstart political groups gain sizeable donations

Anthony Pratt’s Pratt Holdings was the biggest political donor in the last year, tipping $1.3m into Liberal party coffers ahead of the 2022 election. The Australian Electoral Commission released disclosures for the 2020-21 financial year on Tuesday, revealing significant donations to upstart political movements including $1m to conservative lobby group Advance Australia and $300,000 to… Read More

Sources of millions in funding to Labor and Liberals kept secret in political donations disclosures

The source of tens of millions of dollars in electoral funding remains a secret, with political parties not disclosing where more than a third of their income comes from. The Australian Electoral Commission’s annual release of financial disclosures by political parties has revealed some of the major donors in 2020-21, but has also raised questions about where… Read More

Concerns over ‘opaque’ political donations

Donations to Australia’s two major political parties are dominated by “large and opaque” sources, sparking calls for a real-time disclosure scheme and caps. About 42 per cent of Liberal donations and 33 per cent of Labor donations since 1998/99 have come from associated entities, the Centre for Public Integrity says. Associated entities can include such… Read More

Watchful optimism about Victoria’s new pandemic bill

Written by Dr Catherine Williams (research director of the Centre for Public Integrity) Professor Gabrielle Appleby (Professor of Law, UNSW), Associate Professor William Partlett (University of Melbourne Law School) and Associate Professor Maria O’Sullivan (Associate Professor and deputy director, Castan Centre for Human Rights Law, Monash University). This article was originally published in the Age on… Read More

Maybe the Prime Minister doesn’t actually want to win?

Written by Dr Colleen Lewis. Dr Lewis is a member of the Centre’s National Integrity Committee and is an honorary professor at the ANU’s Australian Studies Institute. This article was originally published in the Canberra Times on Nov 30 2021 When reflecting on Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s statements in Federal Parliament last week, one could… Read More

The prime minister’s attack on the NSW ICAC is wholly unjustified

By Stephen Charles QC AO Director at the Centre for Public Integrity. Originally published in Pearls and Irritations on Nov 29 2021 The Coalition’s proposal for a national integrity commission shows an arrogant and contemptuous disdain for community demands such a body. Last week the prime minister made an extraordinary attack on the New South… Read More

Federal watchdog proposal a ‘sham’, intended to protect parliamentarians

Written by Centre for Public Integrity Board member Stephen Charles QC. Originally published in the Age November 9 2021. If not for an investigation by this masthead and Nine’s 60 Minutes program, alleged improper practices in the electorate office of a federal minister may never have faced public scrutiny. Information produced by the investigation into the electorate… Read More

‘Standards have slipped dramatically’: Integrity experts warn of more pork-barrelling

Former New South Wales Supreme Court judge Anthony Whealy says political “standards have slipped dramatically” to a point where the misuse of public funds has become normalised. Originally published 11 November 2021 for SBS news. Written by Tom Stayner There is nothing to stop pork-barrelling ahead of the next federal election, integrity experts have told a… Read More

Victoria’s controversial pandemic bill: 6 ways for the government to show it is serious about scrutiny

Written by Dr Catherine Williams, Professor Gabrielle Appleby, Associate Professor Maria O’Sullivan, Associate Professor William Partlett. Originally published in the Conversation on November 15 2021. Victoria’s Pandemic Management Bill, designed to replace the current state of emergency powers in pandemic emergencies, has swiftly become one of the state’s most polarising pieces of legislation. Amid the… Read More

Welcome changes: new pandemic laws worthy of cautious optimism

By Dr Catherine Williams Director of Research at the Centre for Public Integrity. Originally published in the Age on October 29 2021. The Victorian government’s new pandemic legislation was this week released – accidentally, initially – to a largely hostile reception. This appears at least in part to have been the result of the secrecy… Read More

Two-thirds of voters back federal corruption watchdog with stronger powers

Written by James Massola and originally published in the Age on October 31 More than two-thirds of Australians support the creation of a powerful federal anti-corruption watchdog, with Coalition voters slightly more in favour than those who support other parties. Changes designed to bolster the proposed watchdog’s powers look increasingly likely after criticism from legal… Read More

Serious questions, much at stake as ICAC probes Berejiklian’s assertions

Written by the Centre’s Chair Anthony Whealy QC and originally published in the Sydney Morning Herald on November 2 2021 The revelation last year that the former premier was in a close personal relationship with Daryl Maguire came as a shock to her colleagues and to the general public. In the immediate aftermath, Gladys Berejiklian,… Read More

New pandemic laws need oversight by Ombudsman

Media release 27th October        The Centre for Public Integrity The Victorian Government’s new pandemic bill makes important Parliamentary scrutiny improvements to pandemic orders, though lacks independent accountability by a statutory agency, according to new analysis by the Centre for Public Integrity. The Bill enables the Scrutiny of Acts and Regulations Committee (SARC) to report on… Read More

Grattan on Friday: Morrison government faces battle over integrity commission it doesn’t really want

Originally published on October 7 2021 and written by Michelle Grattan in the Conversation Those critiquing the dramatic fall of Gladys Berejiklian, who resigned when the Independent Commission Against Corruption announced it was investigating the probity of her conduct, have divided into two camps. Some cast ICAC as the ogre that’s brought down a good… Read More

The trials of Bernard Collaery and Witness K

By Centre for Public Integrity Board Director Stephen Charles AO QC. Originally presented as a speech in our webinar with Bernard and then published in Pearls and Irritations on October 20 2021. Australia’s bugging of Timor-Leste’s Cabinet rooms and subsequent hounding of Bernard Collaery and a former intelligence officer was a display of mendacity, duplicity,… Read More

A strong federal integrity commission requires public hearings

Written by Centre for Public Integrity Board Member Stephen Charles AO QC for Pearls and Irritations on Oct 12 2021 The Coalition parliamentarians who don’t want a federal integrity commission to hold public hearings are among the very people that should be required to answer questions from an integrity commission.. NSW’s Independent Commission Against Corruption… Read More

ICAC facing pressure to curb its powers

Written by Stephen Rice in the Australian October 3 2021 The NSW anti-corruption watchdog faces a determined push to curb its powers, following its decision to investigate Gladys Berejiklian over whether she allowed or encouraged her former boyfriend Daryl Maguire to engage in corrupt activity. As the fallout continues from the premier’s resignation, NSW Health… Read More

Integrity centre says proposed federal commission would be ‘weakest watchdog in the country’

Written by Jackson Graham Wednesday October 6, 2021 in the Mandarin The federal government’s plans for a Commonwealth Integrity Commission would create “the weakest watchdog in the country”, according to a think tank dedicated to integrity in public offices.  Attorney-general Michaelia Cash is set to introduce the government’s proposed Commonwealth Integrity Commission bill into parliament… Read More

‘Weakest watchdog’: Report slams Morrison plan for integrity commission

Written by David Crowe. Originally published in the Age October 6 2021 The new federal agency meant to crack down on corruption has been blasted as the “weakest watchdog” in the country after an independent analysis found it would not have enough power to investigate major scandals over the misuse of public money. The first… Read More

‘Very silly’ for Barnaby Joyce to compare NSW Icac to Spanish Inquisition, former senior judge says

Written by Christopher Knaus. Originally published in the Guardian 5 October 2021 Stephen Charles says he has lost all hope the Coalition is serious about introducing a strong federal anti-corruption commission Former senior judge Stephen Charles has criticised Barnaby Joyce for likening the New South Wales anti-corruption watchdog to the “Spanish Inquisition”, saying the deputy… Read More

Liberals to ‘hasten slowly’ on federal ICAC after Berejiklian’s fall

Written by David Crowe. Published in the Age October 4 2021 A federal pledge to combat corruption is heading for an impasse in the Senate as Liberals rethink whether to vote for sweeping new powers for a national integrity commission after the sudden resignation of NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian. Liberal backbenchers are warning against giving… Read More

Federal lobbying rules fall short of OECD standards: report

Written by Tom McIlroy, originally published in the Australian Financial Review on Oct 4, 2021 Australia’s lax lobbying regulations fall short of OECD standards and should be extended to include in-house government relations advisers and tougher enforcement, a new report says. The Centre for Public Integrity review found changes recommended by the Commonwealth Auditor-General to… Read More

Watchdog with bite: Icac claims another premier with demise of Gladys Berejiklian

Written by Christopher Knauss. Originally published in the Guardian on October 2 The premier’s anger was palpable, her target familiar. Like so many politicians before her, Gladys Berejiklian laid the blame for her untimely demise squarely at the feet of the Independent Commission Against Corruption. She accused it of pursuing her over “historic matters” that… Read More

Legal expert backs ICAC after criticism over timing of Berejiklian probe

Written by James Massola, Megan Gorrey and Tom Rabe. Originally published in the Age, October 3 2021 Constitutional law expert Anne Twomey says the NSW corruption watchdog acted appropriately by ignoring the political implications and announcing it was investigating Premier Gladys Berejiklian. As the fallout deepened from Ms Berejiklian’s announcement on Friday that she would… Read More

Media Release – CIC would be Australia’s weakest watchdog

The Government’s proposed Commonwealth Integrity Commission would be the weakest watchdog in the country if implemented, according to new research by the Centre for Public Integrity. The analysis of State and Territory integrity commissions concludes that the strongest and most effective integrity commissions in New South Wales and Queensland share the following powers: –         The ability… Read More

We need a federal watchdog with teeth, now more than ever

Written by Centre for Public Integrity Board Member Stephen Charles QC. Originally published for 9Fairfax on Sept 18 2021 The Coalition has been promising Australia a federal integrity commission for nearly three years, and Christian Porter (when attorney-general) produced an exposure draft for a commission over 12 months ago. Why do we not now have… Read More

Labor lashes Phil Gaetjens’ ‘hubris or cowardice’ for no-show at national cabinet secrecy inquiry

By Finn McHugh originally published int he Canberra Times SEPTEMBER 27 2021 Phil Gaetjens has been lashed for “hubris or cowardice” by Labor after failing to appear before Parliament to explain a government to push to make key details on national cabinet inaccessible to the public. A Senate inquiry began on Monday looking into a… Read More