HANNAH AULBY. Strangling Accountability.

Feb 12, 2020

The Centre for Public Integrity invites you to the inaugural National Integrity Forum: “Strangling Accountability”.

The National Integrity Forum will be a Chatham House discussion on the value of accountability institutions and how the integrity of these institutions has been undermined and attacked. Hear from former integrity officials sharing their experience of funding cuts, stripping of powers, media attacks and political intervention. Contribute to recommendations on appropriate policy responses to strengthen and protect the integrity of accountability institutions.

Details Venue: Sydney University Law School Foyer Date: Thursday 19th March 2020 10.30am – 5.pm Chatham House forum.

Speakers include:  The Hon Mary Gaudron QC on secret government  The Hon Marilyn Warren AC on the judiciary  Professor John McMillan AO on the Ombudsman  Richard Beasley SC on Royal Commissions  Dr Mike Keating AC on the public service  Rosemary Laing on the Senate.

Background Australia’s democracy rests on the principles that the people are sovereign and power is exercised under the rule of law. The integrity of key institutions safeguard these principles by upholding accountability, open government, just laws and impartial dispute resolution.

These accountability institutions need to be strong and independent. They include:  Parliament  Judiciary and the Administrative Appeals Tribunal  Public service  Media and public broadcasting  Electoral commissions  Voting and electoral regulations, including political donations and lobbying regulations  Anti-corruption commissions  Royal Commissions  Charities and advocacy organisations  Statutory authorities, including state and federal audit offices, ombudsman offices, Australian Information Commissioner, Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, Law Reform Commissions, Australian Bureau of Statistics, Human Rights Commission, Fair Work Commission, CSIRO

These institutions are important not only because they ensure actual accountability, transparency and good governance, but because they build confidence and trust within the Australian community. When this confidence and trust is diminished, divisiveness and conflict increase. This impacts social cohesiveness and the economy, and the welfare of all Australians suffers. Ultimately, as international experience has shown, it is a threat to democracy itself.

Over recent years each of the integrity institutions listed above has come under sustained pressure. Attacks on integrity institutions come in many forms, including weakened powers or jurisdiction, funding cuts, ‘dud’ or bias appointments to senior positions, or personal attacks on officials. Examples include Federal Ministers attempting to influence the Victorian Court of Appeal in 2017 terrorism cases, the sustained funding cuts and personal attacks on the ABC, and the de-skilling of the public service through outsourcing of up to 50% of government departments to contractors.

The National Integrity Forum: “Strangling Accountability” will examine the ways in which accountability institutions are undermined, based on experiences of former integrity officials, and make recommendations on appropriate policy responses. About The Centre for Public Integrity The Centre for Public Integrity is an independent think tank dedicated to preventing corruption, protecting the integrity of our accountability institutions, and eliminating undue influence of money in politics in Australia. Board members of the Centre are the Hon Tony Fitzgerald AC QC, the Hon David Ipp AO QC, the Hon Stephen Charles AO QC, the Hon Anthony Whealy QC, Professor George Williams AO, Professor Joo Cheong Tham and Geoffrey Watson SC.

To register Visit our Eventbrite page to register: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/national-integrityforum-strangling-accountability-tickets-86293888343  For enquiries:

Hannah Aulby
Executive Director
The Centre for Public Integrity
0427 079 729

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