Summary: Australia’s Integrity Puzzle and the Need for Transparency

While the upcoming National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) in Australia is a significant stride towards accountability, it alone cannot eliminate corruption, warns George Williams, a board member of the Centre for Public Integrity. The existing laws governing political donations and political parties, which often foster undisclosed influence, excessive secrecy, and patronage, demand urgent reform. The Centre’s analysis reveals that nearly 23% of the AUD 402 million received by parties in the 2021-22 financial year came from undisclosed sources. Since 1998-99, AUD 1.53 billion out of AUD 5.1 billion of income has been “dark money”. The current laws allow large donations to be split and channelled through different party branches, effectively keeping the public in the dark. Williams argues that these unregulated structures challenge public expectations and standards set for other public-funded bodies, and calls for urgent action from the parliament to ensure transparency and scrutiny.

This summary comes from The Australian, was written by George Williams, and can be found here.