26 July, 2010
Integrity. Our politicians are not persons who are naturally without integrity. In my submission, the system that the British have given to us seems almost designed to encourage us to surrender our natural integrity. Let us look at some examples. Tenders Boards are not protected by our Constitutions, and in many territories they are not even governed by legislation. When there is a Tenders Board, it is an informal, unregulated committee, more for show than for substance. Public contracts are routinely awarded on the basis of family and friendly relationships. Land Development Planning Committees and Building Boards have their decisions subject to review by politicians. Immigration Department orders and Work Permit issues are overturned by politicians. I could go on, but you see the point, I am sure.
The obvious way to improve the integrity of our public administration is for our legislatures to put in place institutions, checks and balances, that have been proven to work in various systems of government. What are some of the most obvious ones? We shall look in turn at (a) the Interests Commissioner; (b) Tenders Boards and Procurement; (c) Crown Lands; (d) Appointments Commission; and (e) Codes of Ethics.