Whose for truth and integrity? Well not ScoMo

A new campaigning group, the Truth and Integrity Project, has been launched.

It’s a totally voluntary not-for-profit organisation which aims to mobilise Australians who are angry, concerned and disgusted with the state of Australian politics and government.

The Truth and Integrity Project aims to reach out to all Australians – whatever their differences – to promote a successful Australia where truth, integrity, policy and decency are the core of politics. It aims to:

  • Highlight major policy failures in areas such as climate change, economic management and inequality.
  • Raise awareness of corruption in Australian politics.
  • Challenge the dramatic decline in the quality of political debate and discourse.

The Project’s joint Honorary Patrons are The Honourable Barry Jones AC and Dr John Hewson AM.

It stems from a concept developed by one of Australia’s pre-eminent film producers, Bob Weis, who has recruited writers, film makers, editors, communication experts and policy experts to develop a series of hard-hitting online mini-documentaries.

The Project recognises Australian politics has never been perfect but that today the Morrison Government’s lies, the secrecy, the rorts, the corruption, the stunts and the failure to accept responsibility makes politics worse than they have ever been.

Whether it is…

  • Refusing to address the existential threat of climate change.
  • Covering up rapes in Parliament House.
  • Denying the reality of climate change and refusing to take action to stop the threat it proses.
  • Appointing scores of former Liberal MPs and staffers to publicly funded offices like the Australian Administrative Tribunal, Australia Post, the Fair Work Commission and many, many other organisations.
  • Giving over $440 million to a tiny Great Barrier Reef charity run by people connected to the Liberal-allied Business Council without process.
  • Sending out messages to someone in the department in charge of valuing land in Western Sydney to buy it for 10 times its value.
  • Ministers caught out lobbying for their family’s business interests.
  • Pedalling forged documents about the City of Sydney.
  • Spying on Australians in the name of security.
  • Handing out billions of your money to billionaires while victimising and hounding young people looking for work.
  • Hiding behind unparalleled Government secrecy.
  • Targeting over a hundred thousand Australians in illegal schemes like robo-debt without a single bureaucrat or minister suffering any consequence.
  • Constantly refusing to accept responsibility for actions PMs like Whitlam, Fraser would have demanded Ministerial resignations.

Barry Jones said he had “joined John Hewson as a Patron of the Truth and Integrity Project because Australian democracy is under serious threat and both the Coalition and the Federal ALP have no vision beyond the election of 2022.

“Citizens have to be prepared to engage and challenge to tackle the global threat of climate change. The Coalition, captive of the fossil fuel lobby, lies about meeting global targets for emissions reductions and the Opposition’s line is vague and shifty. The states, irrespective  of political allegiances, have been prepared to set targets: the Commonwealth has not – because there will be three elections before 2030 and ten before 2050.

“The well-respected ‘Democracy Index 2020’, published by The Economist’s Intelligence Unit calculates that only 8.4 per cent of the world’s population live in a ‘full democracy.’

“Australia is one of them, but we cannot take it for granted. We have become increasing secretive, authoritarian, sensitive to criticism. Our Parliaments sit for shorter periods than any other Western nation.  The words ‘truth’, and ‘accountability’, ‘courage’, ‘debate’, ‘analysis’, ‘critical thinking’, ‘compassion’, ‘vision’ and ‘global’ have disappeared from the political lexicon.

“Only an active citizenry can prevent sliding towards authoritarian or populist democracy with its endless appeals to the short term and self-interest.

“Democracy is under internal threats with the rise of populism, nativism, raising levels of corruption, decaying institutions, with corruption accepted as normal, with vested interests setting agendas, leaders who refuse to be accountable for their actions, ‘retail politics’, where leaders fail to ask of a proposition ‘Is it right’, but ‘Will it sell?’, in a new era in which feeling and opinion is displacing analysis and evidence, and leaders fail to lead,” he said.

Professor John Hewson said: “The major casualties of our politics over recent years have been truth and integrity in government. There has been a very significant erosion of trust and belief in our politicians and in our political processes. The Morrison Government has elevated constantly denying its clear responsibilities to an art form. It goes to extreme lengths to avoid accountability. Unfortunately both major parties know what needs to done to clean up our politics and to refocus government of the issues of significance to most Australians now and into the future.

“Each seems to believe that they are better able to ‘game’ and exploit the weaknesses of the current system to their particular short-term political advantage, rather than to improve the system to deliver good government in our national interest to the benefit of current and future generations of Australians.

“We also need major reforms to cleanup areas such as campaign funding, lobbying, truth in political advertising and possible penalties for false and misleading conduct,” he said.

The Project’s website has just gone live and you can sign up for regular newsletters here.

 Declaration of interest: The author is one of the Project founders.