What’s climate got to do with electoral reform? More than you might think

What do electoral laws, social media, climate change and secure work have in common? All have been prioritised for reform by the Labor government – and all are areas where democratic reform is essential. In fact, the links between these four priorities provide a unique opportunity for change. Disinformation and manipulationThe age-old problem of political… Read More

Bernard Collaery: The spy case that ignited an Australian secrecy row

For a decade, Bernard Collaery has been at the centre of an extraordinary legal saga in Australia. It involves one of the country’s biggest diplomatic scandals – a tale of spies, oil and accusations of greed. An esteemed lawyer, Mr Collaery had been staring down a possible jail sentence for helping to expose allegations of… Read More

Labor to introduce real-time disclosures and slash donations thresholds

Politicians would have to declare political donations over $1000 in real time as part of a sweeping package of integrity measures Special Minister of State Don Farrell hopes to introduce by mid-2023. Labor also wants to introduce “truth in political advertising” laws and potentially double the number of senators allocated to the Northern Territory and… Read More

Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus orders Commonwealth to drop charges against lawyer Bernard Collaery

Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus has ordered the Commonwealth to drop the prosecution of lawyer Bernard Collaery, four years after he was charged with conspiring to release classified information about an alleged spying operation in East Timor. Mr Collaery was charged in 2018 for allegedly helping his client, an ex-spy known only as Witness K, to reveal… Read More

Albanese bans blind trusts and shares for ministers, keeps ‘bonk ban’

Federal government ministers have been told to sell off shareholdings and divest from blind trust arrangements under a tough new code of conduct implemented by Anthony Albanese. Maintaining a ban on sex between ministers and their staff, the Prime Minister said frontbenchers would be held personally responsible for managing their private financial affairs and could… Read More

Siblings’ planning ties highlight flaws in lobbying laws

Lobbying is an undeniable reality of government decision-making in Australia, and the OECD has recognised that it can make a valuable contribution to the democratic process. It also cautions, however, that lobbying can lead to “undue influence, unfair competition and regulatory capture to the detriment of the public”. Because of this, effective lobbying regulation is… Read More

The minister and the lobbyist: Blandthorn siblings face conflict questions

Premier Daniel Andrews’ appointment of new Planning Minister Lizzie Blandthorn has raised conflict-of-interest questions due to her lobbyist brother representing major development, construction and infrastructure clients. In an appointment that has unsettled some senior government and Labor insiders, the premier named Pascoe Vale MP Blandthorn to the sensitive planning role. Her brother, John-Paul Blandthorn, heads… Read More

Attorney-general considering abolishing AAT and starting from scratch

The government is considering whether it can scrap a review body stacked with Liberal-linked members as integrity experts call for transparency and competitiveness around senior public appointments. Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus is doing a “very serious review” of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, which has taken up to two years to make decisions as case lists have… Read More

Media release – Public Appointments Framework – Guaranteeing merit and independence

Corruption experts call for new Public Appointments Framework in wake of AAT stacking The AAT should be dissolved and replaced, and a new Public Appointments Framework established to ensure independent appointments, according to new research by the Centre for Public Integrity. The research finds: Public appointment processes are opaque, leading to allegations of “jobs for… Read More

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