MPs call on parliament to end grant pork barrelling

Grant decisions by politicians could come under greater scrutiny as part of a push to end pork barrelling. Independent MP Helen Haines on Monday introduced a motion to parliament during private member’s business, with the support of outspoken Liberal Bridget Archer. “Too often, funding goes where the need for votes is greatest,” she told parliament.… Read More

‘If Abbott and Keating are getting money, who else?’

Society should reconsider whether politicians should further receive retirement benefits given some take up lucrative lobbying jobs, a director of the Centre for Public Integrity, barrister Geoffrey Watson, SC, said after it was reported that former prime ministers Paul Keating and Tony Abbott may be on the payroll of billionaire box king Anthony Pratt. The… Read More

Allan’s new IBAC chief is inexperienced and a virtual unknown. Is that the point?

It is the harsh reality of politics that when Victoria’s Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission finds fault with government, its commissioner needs to be able and prepared to meet such situations, and that they have the skills and standing required to manage such challenges. Last week, The Age reported that Victoria Elliott had been chosen as the new head… Read More

National Anti-Corruption Commission probes ‘unlikely to involve Coalition’, says former judge

The National Anti-Corruption Commission has received 1200 reports, launched three new corruption investigations and hired 50 new staff members since its inception more than three months ago, as the body’s chief reaffirms its dedication to exposing and preventing misconduct. Commissioner Paul Brereton on Monday released a video detailing the NACC’s achievements over the past 100… Read More

Ex-premier Mark McGowan joins Abbott-era treasurer Joe Hockey’s consultancy firm, among four new private sector roles

Former WA premier Mark McGowan has taken on a senior role at the former federal treasurer Joe Hockey’s consultancy firm, among four new jobs, including appointments to mining companies Mineral Resources and BHP. Mr Hockey’s firm, Bondi Partners, promotes trade and business ties between Australia and the US. It confirmed Mr McGowan commenced his appointment this month.… Read More

Big four consulting firms accused of ‘lowball quoting’ to win government contracts

Over the last decade, the big four consultancy firms have faced accusations of “lowball quoting” to secure federal government contracts, leading to a higher-than-expected taxpayer expenditure by $1.8 billion. An in-depth analysis by the Centre for Public Integrity, Australia’s leading anti-corruption think tank, discovered that approximately 19% of contracts awarded to these firms were later… Read More

Corruption chief warns lawyers, consultants

Paul Brereton, the head of Australia’s National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC), has cautioned lawyers about offering risk-based advice and has indicated potential inquiries concerning the consultancy sector. Addressing the UN Global Compact Network’s 2023 Australian Dialogue on Bribery and Corruption, he expressed concerns over the significant engagement of external consultants by the government and how Commonwealth… Read More

New corruption Paul Brereton has consultants in his sights

Paul Brereton, the head of the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC), has emphasized his focus on the private consultancy sector and its relations with government operations. While addressing Allens law firm during the UN Global Compact Network’s 2023 Australian Dialogue on Bribery and Corruption, Brereton, the first chief of the newly established anti-corruption agency, expressed concerns… Read More

Albanese compliance with senate production orders roughly half that of Morrison

Compliance with senate production orders has seen a downturn in the current parliament, reveals a study by the Centre for Public Integrity, Australia’s foremost anti-corruption think tank. The research indicates that the Albanese government has a compliance rate of only 20.4%, in stark contrast to the Morrison government’s 48.7% over a three-year span from 2019-2022.… Read More

Teal independent Kate Chaney to introduce bill to ban big Commonwealth contractors from making political donations

Legislation banning substantial Commonwealth contractors from making political donations is being proposed, with the intention to enhance transparency in Australian federal elections. Kate Chaney, Member for Curtin, will present the “Restoring Trust Bill” that additionally seeks to mandate federal ministers to disclose their official diaries. This initiative strives to mitigate financial sway and ensure equitable… Read More

How power bleeds between politics and the big four

The Centre for Public Integrity, Australia’s leading anti-corruption think tank, has recently expressed concerns over potential conflicts of interest due to the frequent “revolving door” between political positions and employment with the ‘big four’ consulting firms: KPMG, PwC, EY, and Deloitte. Over the last decade, government contracts awarded to these companies have surged from $282… Read More

Robodebt’s ‘potentially irreversible’ damage to trust in government

The robodebt royal commission’s final report, led by Commissioner Catherine Holmes, underscores a potential irreversible damage to the public’s trust in both the social security system and the broader Australian government. The robodebt scheme, perceived by many as unjust, has significantly eroded public trust, and its impact may be enduring. An anonymous submission to the… Read More

Calls for royal commission as PwC, Deloitte scandals widen

Recent revelations surrounding the misuse of confidential public data by major accounting firms have intensified the call for a royal commission. This commission aims to unravel the depth of scandals across the industry and discern strategies for the federal government to reduce dependence on external contractors. Deloitte, for instance, has faced criticism for breaching confidentiality,… Read More

Consultant work for federal agencies jumps 1300pc

Australian Commonwealth agencies have witnessed a staggering 12-fold surge in the use of external advisers over the past decade, leading to calls for stricter controls on consultant hiring and improved transparency in procurement reporting. The Centre for Public Integrity’s analysis revealed that management advisory services from the big four consultancies to the Commonwealth soared from… Read More

Australian government spending on big four consultancy firms up 1,270% in a decade, analysis shows

Australia’s government expenditure on the big four consultancy firms has escalated dramatically, seeing a 1,270% increase over the past decade. Such spending intensifies concerns about transparency and potential conflicts of interest in public financial matters. The Centre for Public Integrity, Australia’s leading anti-corruption think tank, has highlighted the alarming rate of this rise, pointing out… Read More

How the big four accounting firms infiltrated governments, earning more than $10b over a decade while taxpayers are in the dark

Over the past ten years, Australia’s state and federal governments have allocated more than $10 billion to the big four accounting firms: EY, Deloitte, KPMG, and PwC. Their pervasive influence reaches from numerous government departments to occupying board positions across Australia. Notably, the Department of Defence alone has reportedly expended almost $4 billion on these… Read More

Consulting firms admit they’re rife with toxic behaviour. So, why do we pay them billions?

Recent revelations from Australia’s top consultancy firms highlight a pervasive culture of toxic behavior. Firms like EY, Deloitte, and KPMG disclosed a series of breaches of integrity including sexual harassment, dishonesty, and bullying at a Senate inquiry initiated after the PwC tax scandal. The seriousness of these transgressions is underscored by the seniority of the… Read More

For major parties, spending arms race means odds are ever in their favour

Leading integrity experts have advocated for a revision of Victoria’s political donation laws, suggesting that they currently favour Labor and the Coalition. The Centre for Public Integrity, Australia’s leading anti-corruption think tank, made a submission to a review of the 2018 donations reforms initiated by the Andrews government. While acknowledging some improvements, the Centre expressed… Read More

Greens want please-explain from Labor ministers who ignore reports

The Greens are pressing Labor ministers to provide explanations if they overlook or miss deadlines for parliamentary reports, aiming to ensure community and MP efforts aren’t wasted. A former Labor MP highlighted the government’s failure to address a homelessness report presented two years ago, even though ministers should usually respond within six months. Greens MP… Read More

‘What the public is entitled to know’: Former judge slams robo-debt sealed section

Anthony Whealy, KC, previously a NSW Supreme Court judge and now the chair of the Centre for Public Integrity, Australia’s leading anti-corruption think tank, is pressing for transparency over the robo-debt royal commission findings. He insists that the names of those recommended for potential prosecution should be disclosed to the public, advocating for open justice.… Read More

Donation plug pulled and now PwC cuts ties with political access groups

PwC Australia has decided to cease its donations to political groups, tackling the ethical dilemma of granting vast amounts to politicians while simultaneously securing profitable consulting contracts. This move follows revelations by the Centre for Public Integrity, Australia’s leading anti-corruption think tank, which disclosed that PwC contributed over $2 million to both the Coalition and… Read More

What comes next? The possible criminal and civil fallout from robo-debt

The robo-debt scandal in Australia might bring about criminal prosecutions for abuse of public office, recommendations from the national corruption watchdog, and disciplinary measures by professional entities, according to legal specialists. The robo-debt royal commission, chaired by former Queensland chief justice Catherine Holmes, SC, uncovered severe misconduct by past Coalition ministers and bureaucrats in a… Read More

PwC to ban political donations over tax leaks scandal

Amid an ongoing tax leaks scandal, PwC Australia is set to discontinue the majority of its political contributions, removing annual donations that average over $200,000, thereby pressuring other prominent firms like Deloitte, EY, and KPMG to consider similar actions. Anthony Whealy, the chairman of the Centre for Public Integrity, Australia’s leading anti-corruption think tank, and… Read More

Corruption watchdog referrals skyrocket since launch

Australia’s federal anti-corruption watchdog has witnessed a significant increase in its referrals, garnering over 300 since its recent debut. As of Monday, National Anti-Corruption Commissioner Paul Brereton noted that 44 of these came via their online system, a number which quickly rose to 186 online submissions and 116 phone calls by Wednesday. A significant portion,… Read More

Corruption watchdog referrals skyrocket since launch

Since its recent launch, the federal anti-corruption watchdog has received over 300 referrals. National Anti-Corruption Commissioner Paul Brereton revealed that 44 of these were obtained via their online system, with the current figures standing at 186 online submissions and 116 phone referrals. Notably, around 60 pertained to issues already highlighted in the media. The Centre… Read More

Media release – Caps needed to rein in big donors and record spending

Media release 20th June 2023 Experts have welcomed the JSCEM interim report recommending the implementation of donations and spending caps. Analysis by the Centre for Public Integrity shows that donations and spending are at unprecedented levels: The JSCEM interim report presents an opportunity to put caps on donations and spending for the first time. “Elections are… Read More

Scott Morrison’s $4m endorsement of defunct Esther Foundation ‘silenced’ rehab residents

The Esther Foundation, a Christian rehabilitation facility near Perth, is under scrutiny following former residents’ allegations of abuse and mistreatment. These revelations gained further attention after former Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s 2019 visit to the centre, during which he announced a $4 million grant. This personal endorsement, according to former residents like Cara Phillips and… Read More

Coalition government’s ‘brazen’ health grant breach ‘worse than sports rorts’, integrity body says

The Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) has sharply criticized the former Coalition government for deliberate breaches of grant legislation surrounding the Community Health and Hospitals Program (CHHP). The health department’s actions, labeled as “potentially corrupt” by MP Monique Ryan, have raised significant concerns about corruption, transparency, and integrity within the Australian government’s grant system. The… Read More

Canberra lobbying must be reined in. Here’s how we can protect our democracy

Summary The Centre for Public Integrity, in a recent study, highlighted how the Australian federal lobbying practices and regulations have been subverted, resulting in secrecy, corruption, and unfair access and influence. The past few decades have seen the Australian government’s climate change policy heavily influenced by fossil fuel lobbyists, an epitome of the OECD’s “policy… Read More

Editorial: The lobbyist prime minister

Summary: Former Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s anticipated move from politics to lobbying exemplifies a concerning trend in Australian politics, where public officials transition to roles representing corporate interests. Morrison’s reported upcoming role with a British defense company, following his significant push for increased military spending, illustrates his focus on personal gain over national interest. These… Read More

Lobbyists rail against ‘unfair’ federal reforms

Summary: The Australian Professional Government Relations Association (APGRA), which represents lobbyists, has rejected calls from the Centre for Public Integrity, Australia’s leading anti-corruption think tank, to legislate the federal lobbyists’ code. The Centre’s report, “Closing the revolving door,” advocates for stronger regulations to curb corruption, improve transparency, and enhance integrity in Australia’s lobbying industry. Key… Read More

Scott Morrison’s reported links to UK defence job shows lobbying reforms needed, integrity experts say

Summary: Scott Morrison’s reported discussions for a UK defence industry role have brought Australia’s pressing need for lobbying reforms into sharp focus. As integrity experts and organizations like the Centre for Public Integrity have stressed, such transitions raise concerns about potential corruption and the abuse of insider knowledge gained while in government. Existing codes require… Read More