The Platform of the Democratic Reform Alliance consists of of four policies aimed at creating accountability and reducing corruption in the political system and providing greater opportunity for participation of ordinary Australians.
Policy 1 – Political Entitlements and Accountability
- Introduce an enforceable codification of parliamentary and electoral office entitlements with severe punishments (including suspension from Parliament) for breaching statutory guidelines;
- Reduce politician’s superannuation benefits to common community standards;
- Tie increases in politicians pay and superannuation to the annual dollar increase in the minimum wage;
- Limit the salary packages of senior officials (ministers, senior bureaucrats, agency heads, and Remuneration Tribunal appointees to a multiplier of five times the minimum wage;
- Cut post-parliamentary entitlements (gold airline passes, on-going office expenses, excessive superannuation);
- Introduce an enforceable codification of parliamentary and ministerial standards including strict ministerial accountability for actions of senior bureaucrats and parliamentary advisers and staffers with severe punishment including loss of office and suspension from Parliament for breaching statutory guidelines;
- Introduce an enforceable codified definition of what constitutes a conflict of interest and expanded assets registers with severe punishment for breaching statutory guidelines.
Policy 2 - Anti-corruption, Transparency, and Integrity
- Introduce a world’s best practice Federal Anti-Corruption Authority with standing Royal Commission like powers to investigate allegations of corruption and abuse of public authority;
- Introduce a world’s best practice Federal Integrity Commission to create and enforce binding guidelines regulating perceived conflicts of interest at all levels of government including in relation to asset sales, public private partnerships, public appointment (including a Public Appointments Commissioner), and government tendering with the presumptive abolition of commercial-in-confidence in government contracting;
- Introduce world’s best practice Freedom of Information laws and clear whistle blowing protections and incentives;
- Introduce world’s best practice regulation of lobbyists including an enforceable codified statement of lobbying rules governing interactions between politicians and lobbyists;
- Implement an expansive on-line real time register of lobbyists and lobbying activities;
- Ban politicians from receiving payments from lobby groups while still in Parliament;
- Prohibit politicians from accepting public appointment or engaging in lobby for 3 years after completing public service;
- Strengthen the authority of Parliament to control the approval of the expenditure of public money (ie. to get rid of slush funds available for political expenditure);
- Empower the role of the Auditor General to make binding recommendations on public service agencies in relation to a range of administrative best practice guidelines;
- Create a Ministerial Integrity Portfolio incorporating all functions relating to transparency-in-Government mechanisms into one centralised portfolio.
Policy 3 – Campaign Funding and Expenditure
- Introduce the world’s strictest election campaign and party funding laws;
- Ban donations from corporations and organisations (as opposed to members of organisations or individual shareholders);
- Cap the amount any individual can donate at $10,000 per financial year;
- Require all donations above $500 to be publicly disclosed on the internet in real-time including donations to and from affiliated entities;
- Ban foreign entities and non-permanent residents from making political donations;
- Regulate “associated entities”, think-tanks, and other fund-seeking auxiliary organisations to ensure these organisations comply with campaign funding rules;
- Place expenditure caps on election campaigns and guarantee equal ad time for all parties;
- End state funding of political parties (to encourage parties to become democratic membership based and funded civil organisations rather than self-perpetuating creatures of the state they seek to govern);
- Reform the Electoral Act to make any misfeasance of electoral or organisation rules grounds for candidate and party disqualification in the seat and a hefty fine for the party.
Policy 4 – Enhancing Political Participation
- Hold binding plebiscites on critical social issues (euthanasia, drug law reform, foreign treaties, and decisions to commit troops overseas);
- The direct popular election of the Governor-General by the Australian people within the current constitutional framework;
- Reform the voting system to ensure greater integrity in the voting system and to facilitate the introduction of Internet based voting;
- Regulate political parties to bring them into line with the regulation of unions and corporations and clarify the enforceable participation rights of members;
- Ensure electorate sizes are compatible across Australia and there is a transparent process for reforming the voting system.