Greens national deputy convener Ben Spies-Butcher says office bearers’ connections should be declared. Photo: Fiona MorrisNational office holders for the Greens will be forced to declare potential conflicts of interest as the party moves to demand greater transparency from senior officials.
Days after the dramatic resignation of NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell over a $3000 bottle of wine, the party has stepped up its attack on the relationship between major parties and big business.
The new rules, which will be similar to those that apply to MPs, will demand Greens office bearers, including national conveners, secretaries and treasurers, declare personal and pecuniary interests that could influence their decision making.
The move comes amid calls from Greens senators for the Federal Parliament to crack down on “influence peddling” in Australian politics.
The Greens are pressuring the Liberal and Labor parties to consider legislation for a national equivalent of NSW’s Independent Commission Against Corruption, and a bill for a national integrity commissioner is before the Federal Parliament.
Writing for The Guardian this week, Greens senator Lee Rhiannon said “at the federal level, very little has been done to combat influence-peddling in politics.”
“Lobbyists are barely regulated, spending on political advertising is unlimited and both the government and opposition have opposed attempts to establish a national lobbyists’ watchdog.”
“Although parties are required to declare donations, there are few restrictions on who they can take money from.”
Greens national deputy convener Ben Spies-Butcher said the party was mandating tougher standards for office bearers after watching the “murky relationship between business, party officials and political influence” unfold in NSW’s Independent Commission Against Corruption.
“There is not a problem with office bearers having backgrounds that connect them to particular interests but for political integrity to be maintained, those connections should be declared,” he said.
“Just as parliamentarians must declare their own pecuniary and personal interests so any potential influence on their decision making is clear, so should party office bearers.”
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