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Distorting influence of big corporations in politics must end: new campaign

Twenty human rights, environment and health organisations are calling for both major parties to support law reform that would hold politicians to a higher standard of integrity and reduce the distorting influence big industries have in Australian politics.

The integrity reforms in the Framework for a Fair Democracy, which the groups are rallying behind, include a code of conduct for politicians; making lobbying and political donations transparent; banning big, corrupting political donations altogether; and stopping outgoing Ministers from taking up jobs in the industries they regulated.

The call for pro-democracy legislation forms the heart of the new #OurDemocracy campaign, launched today by the Human Rights Law Centre, the Australian Conservation Foundation and the Australian Democracy Network, and formally endorsed by 17 other organisations.

Human Rights Law Centre, Senior Lawyer, Alice Drury:

“Our democracy works best when the government puts the best interests of people, our communities and our planet at the heart of every decision.

“But right now that isn’t happening and harmful industries like gambling and fossil fuels are skewing our democratic processes to win political outcomes that put their profits ahead of our wellbeing. The people who are suffering the most from the status quo are already disadvantaged — the families torn apart by gambling addiction, and the communities who lost entire towns in unprecedented bushfires fuelled by climate change.  

“Despite all the promises, in last week’s federal Budget there was no funding allocated for a Commonwealth Integrity Commission. So it’s clear we can’t just sit back and hope these problems fix themselves – we need to come together and demand these solutions be made into law.”

“The #OurDemocracy campaign is about resetting the rules of politics to make it fairer, more open, and more accountable to all of us.”

Australian Conservation Foundation’s Economy and Democracy Program Manager, Matt Rose: 

“ACF is a part of the #OurDemocracy campaign because government decisions are not being made in the interests of the community and the planet, but for vested interests, such as the fossil fuel industry. Civil society groups that work on issues such gambling, obesity and gun reform face similar issues because of the way our democractic processes work. This makes people feel let down and excluded from our democracy.” 

“Our organisations have come together to make our democracy fairer and more transparent by speaking together and helping people reclaim their role in our democracy.” 

Australian Democracy Network, Director, Saffron Zomer:

“Twenty civil society groups have come together to support this vision for a fair democracy because they know making #OurDemocracy the best it can be is good for their work, their members and all Australians.”

“The #OurDemocracy campaign, launched today, will be building public support over the coming months until our elected representatives see the opportunity to pass these sensible reforms.” 

For more information go to www.ourdemocracy.com.au and follow @OurDemocracyAU

Media contacts:

Michelle Bennett
Human Rights Law Centre
0419 100 519.

Josh Meadows
Australian Conservation Foundation
0439 342 992.

Saffron Zomer
Australian Democracy Network
0417 152 908.