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

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

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

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

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

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

Media release – Big corporate donors use former Ministers and advisers as lobbyists

Big corporate donors are using the revolving door to gain access to government, according to new research by the Centre for Public Integrity. The research finds that many lobbyists working for big corporate donors are doing so within the first year of leaving government, due to weaknesses in the lobbying code of conduct. Analysing the… Read More

Media release – $91 million of election funding hidden from public view

The source of $91.32 million, or 22.74%, of party income was hidden from public view in 2021-2022.

This is an increase of 33% from the $68.26 recorded in the previous year.

The total dark money since 1998/99 is $1.53 billion.

The Coalition has hidden the source of 36.41% of their party income since 1998, while the ALP has hidden 24.61% Read More

Media release – Top 10 donors contribute 76.9% of all donations in 2022

The latest AEC disclosures show that big donors continue to dominate the funding of parties, and campaign spending remains at record levels. From 1998-2021 the top 5% of donors funded 76.4% of all donations. In 2022 the top 10 individual donors contributed $137.5 million to parties and independents which equates to 76.9% of all donations… Read More

Media release: Campaign spending has increased by 144%, spending caps now urgent

Electoral expenditure by political parties has increased 144% in 20 years, according to new research by the Centre for Public Integrity. Analysis of total payments disclosed by parties to the Australian Electoral Commission, with adjustments made for routine expenses and inflation, show that election year spending by Australian political parties increased 144% from approximately $124… Read More

Why Star will stay open despite Bell Review findings

The NSW government and the state’s gaming watchdog have little choice but to let Star Entertainment keep its Pyrmont casino open, corporate governance experts say, despite an inquiry hearing evidence of widespread failures at the group. Speaking ahead of the likely release of the Bell Review into Star on Tuesday, some experts believed there may… Read More

The real question: will federal integrity body probe Labor?

The Albanese government heads into its first parliamentary session next week promising to deliver its election promises. This is laudable. The devil will be in the detail. And devil is the right word when it comes to the details of the promised integrity commission. There is a blindingly obvious rot at the centre of the… Read More

Calls for probe into Tasmanian political grants, amid revelation club where Liberal family member is treasurer wins $50k

An integrity expert has called for an independent inquiry into the Tasmanian Liberal Party’s use of a controversial grants fund during the 2021 election campaign, arguing millions of dollars of taxpayer money may have been misappropriated. The Liberals established the Local Communities Facilities Fund as an election promise, and a “Liberal Party Policy team” internally… Read More

Stronger safeguards around lobbying are a must

In any democracy, lobbying is a vital component of the political process, ensuring that varied interest groups can make their case on specific issues to elected officials. It is a source of reforms to policy, from neighbourhood planning to our response to global issues such as climate change.
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Liberal MP was ‘patron’ of Queensland gun club for which he claimed to have ‘secured’ $20,000 grant

Ross Vasta says he had ‘no decision-making power over the process or the outcome’ in grant to Belmont Branch of the Sporting Shooters Association A Liberal MP said that he “secured” a $20,000 grant for a gun club which lists him as its patron, raising questions about whether he should have disclosed his links to… Read More

SA government denies pork-barrelling accusations on sports grants, amid broader national discussion over the practice

Written by Rory McClaren. Originally published by the ABC on June 26 2022. In politics, making good on election commitments should be thought of as core business. But how those promises are created, then delivered, in government can be a minefield for politicians of all political persuasions. From commuter cark parks by the Federal Coalition… Read More

Taxpayers fund $55.6 billion in federal grants over less than four years

Taxpayers have funded $55.6 billion in federal grants over less than four years under rules that give ministers sweeping powers to decide the payments, with new research fuelling an election row over calls to establish a national integrity commission to safeguard public funds. The findings show the grants reached $20 billion last year alone across… Read More

Albanese challenges PM on federal corruption watchdog amid $55b grant concerns

Written by Finbar O’Mallon and originally published on on 19 April 2022 Scott Morrison says he’ll only introduce his highly criticised model for a federal anti-corruption body if Labor promises to let it through unchanged. Labor leader Anthony Albanese has promised to legislate a federal anti-corruption commission by the end of the year if… Read More

An Old Problem Suddenly Dominates Australia’s Election: ‘Dark Money’

Originally published in the New York Times. Written by Damien Cave. SYDNEY, Australia — When Dr. Ken Coghill served in the Victoria state legislature in the early 1980s, he joined a movement to reform Australia’s campaign finance system, which allowed donations to slosh through politics, with donors mostly able to hide their identities and contributions.… Read More

Media release: Blueprint to rein in money in politics

Urgent reform of political donations laws is needed to stop the flows of hidden money in politics, and rein in record campaign spending and millionaire donors, according to new research by the Centre for Public Integrity. The Centre for Public Integrity, led by former judges and corruption experts, has published a Blueprint to Rein in… Read More

Media Release – $68 million in political funding hidden from public view

New research from the Centre for Public Integrity shows hidden money continues to fund our democracy. Analysis of the latest AEC figures shows: “The source of almost $70 million in party income was hidden last year alone. This secrecy needs to stop,” said Geoffrey Watson SC, a director of the Centre for Public Integrity. “The… Read More

Political party donation profiles – 1998/9-2019/20

Australian political parties reported receiving over $1.24 billion in donations in the 22 years from 1998/99 – 2019/2020. Both donor and party-reported disclosures to the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) reveal that the financing of our political parties is dominated by large and opaque donations. Donations peak in election years, suggesting that private interests seek to… Read More