Public Servants and Accountability Policy

Public Servants and Accountability Policy

It is vitally important that people are able to rely upon and trust our elected representatives, public servants, bureaucrats and media to act honestly, diligently and for the best interests of the Australian people.  The public have good reasons to be cynical and mistrusting of government and the media, and so the Australia Sovereignty Party would like to restore public confidence in the system by ensuring that greater transparency and accountability upheld.

The government should be there to serve the people, not the other way around, and we the Sovereign people of Australia must remind them of this.  If elected, the ASP will restore true accountability and honesty.  We will open all the books, reveal all hidden information, nothing will be kept from the people to whom we serve unless it is a matter of immediate national security.  With an ASP government there will be no more secrets, no more lies, no cover-ups, no deception, and no more governing for the best interests of the bankers, the multinationals, the mining companies, and other offshore globalist organisations.

In this effort to restore public confidence in our elected representatives, unelected bureaucracies and the media, the ASP proposes a number of policies as detailed below that include:

  1. Establishment of a citizens auditing team
  2. Review of Government salaries and entitlements
  3. Establishment of elected law officers
  4. An overhaul of the voting system
  5. A system that upholds greater media accountability

 

1. Establishment of a citizens auditing team.

To ensure full accountability and transparency, the ASP supports the concept of employing a group of 200 citizen auditors once a year for a period of up to 3 months. Ideally, these citizen auditors will hold certain qualifications and experience such as lawyers, accountants, school teachers, scientists, business operators, ministers of religion etc.  These citizens would be selected from the community much in the same way people are randomly chosen for jury duty. They will work with a team of professional advisors and auditors that can assist them in conducting their examinations.

The special team of citizen auditors, being sworn to uphold the truth and protect privacy where relevant, will have far reaching powers to search at will any and all Federal government records, expenditures, receipts, transactions, and to scrutinise government dealings and operations in any areas they deem essential or desirable to investigate (including intelligence operations).  Not even the Prime Minister's office will be exempt from being searched and or questioned. 

Full cooperation and compliance will be required of all government departments, ministers and bureaucrats, to assist with the citizen auditing team if requested. At the expiry of their 3 month investigation, they will jointly present a written account and report on their findings to the Australian people, which will be published in all major newspapers and on the internet for all to see.

A truly accountable government (like that which the ASP can form) should have nothing to fear in establishing and empowering such a citizen auditing body to ensure that government remains honest, and to prevent the kind of endemic corruption that is plaguing current governmental regimes.  In addition to this, we support the idea of extending these citizen auditing bodies (on a smaller scale) to audit state and local governments/councils.  The government is supposed to be our servants, not our masters, and if they will not choose to be honest and accountable, their corruption will be exposed.

 

2. Review of public servants salaries and entitlements.

The public have good cause to question government and bureaucrat salaries and entitlements, since they draw their wages from the public coffers.  There are of course a large number of people who are employed in the public service one way or another; everyone from parliamentary staffers, to legal representatives, economists and financial experts, bureaucrats and department heads, elected Senators, MP’s, ministers and many more.

It is important that everyone employed in the public service is remunerated accordingly, and such remuneration must take into account how much work is required, the level of responsibility involved and a range of other factors like the need to attract appropriately skilled professionals from the private sector.  There are perhaps some people in the public service who are receiving extraordinarily generous salaries and entitlement packages, whilst others could rightly be receiving more. 

In the last few years, various heads of departments like the director-general of the Office of National Assessments, and the Federal Police Commissioner have had pay increases of over 20% and are now enjoying annual salaries of well over half a million dollars.  It is very important that the public are able to understand these salaries, and that such remuneration packages be justifiable.

It is the position of the ASP that remuneration and entitlements should revolve around the following:

  • People who wish to work in government, particularly MP’s and Senators, should be motivated by a genuine desire to serve the public, and not be motivated by salary and entitlement packages.  We do not want career politicians, we want intelligent but honest and genuine Australians who care about their country, and want to serve the people to their utmost ability.
  • All government salaries should truly reflect the work load, skills and responsibility involved.
  • Under the current scheme, politicians pay 11.5% of their generous annual salary towards a pension scheme.  After serving for 8 years, having paid a total of about $170k into the scheme over 8 years, they are then eligible for a $92,500 “pension” for the rest of their lives, or higher still depending on how long they have served.  This is an incredibly unfair system.  The ASP will immediately end this entitlement system.  All current and former politicians will be immediately reimbursed for their contributions made into the scheme, and will no longer receive these exorbitant pensions.  

    All politicians and bureaucrats will receive the exact same pension as the rest of the public, which under ASP policy is quite generous, being $1200 per fortnight, non means tested, available to all Australians once they reach the age of 65.  There shall be no special pensions for government employees.
  • As per the ASP Workers Policy, compulsory superannuation will be abolished, being unnecessary since the pension system will be properly funded.  As such, all government and public service superannuation schemes, being unfairly set at a much higher rate than the rest of the public, will also be put to an end. 
  • Through the implementation of ASP monetary policy, the inflation rate can be tightly controlled and will be kept close to zero, and so like every other sector of the economy, there will no longer be a need for regular annual pay increases. 
  • We will place tighter controls and restrictions upon the parliamentary use of other entitlements and perks such as free air travel, accommodation and the COMCAR service.

3. Establishment of elected law officers

 

In the United States, many local counties hold elections for the office of County Sheriff.  The Sheriff, being popularly elected by the people, is technically supposed to be the highest ranking law officer in that area or jurisdiction. 

There are many examples where good and honest Sheriffs, whilst upholding the US constitution and Bill of Rights, have over-ruled and prevented federal agents from engaging in unconstitutional, illegal and tyrannical actions against local residents, often in cases regarding private property or tax enforcement actions.

As we champion accountability in government and the judiciary, the Australian Sovereignty Party would like to see a similar system introduced into Australia.

If elected, ASP will instigate an investigation into the feasibility of introducing a similar system in Australia, where a local person will be appointed or elected to a position of Judicial Procedural Over-site Officer. (JPO)

This person, to be eligible, shall have extensive experience in either law enforcement or Law prosecution. (ie; a retired police officer of the rank of Inspector or above or a  Lawyer with extensive criminal Law experience).  

This person will have ultimate power to intervene in any action by law enforcement officers of ANY jurisdiction, where complaints or concerns arise that the said agency, whether state or Federal, is not complying with both the written law, the intention of the law, and the Constitution.

The local JPO’s primary role is to ensure the constitution and bill of rights (proposed) is upheld, and that private property rights are respected. Secondary to that role would be to help uphold the peace.

For too long the Australian constitution and the people’s inalienable rights have been ignored by Government agencies and Law enforcement Officers as they are not appropriately educated on our Constitutions, either State or Federal, nor have been imbued with a determination to uphold the people’s rights above all things.  

The local JPO will be able to draw upon the members and equipment of the local police force where necessary and requested. The local police officers will be subject to the JPO’s authority in conducting various operations that fall within the JPO’s mandate from time to time.

We believe that these special law representatives will help to bring back accountability, and help to uphold the rights and freedoms of the public, particularly when threatened by out of control or corrupted bureaucracies (which will hopefully be a thing of the past under an ASP government).  We must have checks and balances!

4. An overhaul of the voting system

It is evident that we currently have an electoral environment that is largely biased towards the preservation of the two-party system at the expense and restraint of smaller parties who express views and positions that are just as valid, if not often better, than that of the major parties.  Of course, the pundits will claim that we need to maintain a bias towards keeping the two-party system so that we can have stable governance. This is a very short-sighted and fundamentally flawed view.

However, with the proper limitations on government in place, particularly when the people employ their right to lawful and binding referenda as prescribed in our Citizens Initiated Referendum policy, it will matter little what the composition of government looks like, since its power and influence upon the population, the economy, and people's daily lives shall rightfully be kept minimal.

Therefore, based on this view, the Australian Sovereignty Party’s policy regarding elections is that the entire process should be based on the principles and spirit of true democracy to ensure a fair go for all parties in contest, and to level the playing field such that elections become a genuine contest of ideas and policy.

Furthermore, no tax-payer sourced pre-election funding shall ever be furnished upon any political party. A political party, regardless of whether or not they are currently sitting as government, shall receive funding based only upon the quantity of primary votes that they receive.  Free advertising shall be provided in the form of air time apportioned to the political parties that meet the criteria, and any additional advertising must be paid for by their own expense.  The free air time provided should be allocated based on a combination between the size of the party’s membership, and how many sitting members of parliament they may already have.

During an election cycle, strict rules shall be applied to major media outlets to ensure they do not show partiality towards any political party. The media must allow all political parties and registered independents to purchase air time for advertising, and shall not discriminate in quotation of the advertising costs.

Additionally, we will do the following to bring greater fairness, transparency and accountability into the voting system.

  • We will end the compulsory voting system, and replace it with a voluntary voting system. Compulsory voting only serves the best interests of entrenched political parties, as many citizens pay little to no attention to policies.  For example, a “donkey” or “protest” vote from an uninformed and uncaring person does not constitute a genuine mandate for any political party. When votes are cast by choice and not compulsion, the people who make the effort to cast their vote are more likely to be informed persons who are demonstrating a genuine concern for their country.  As such, the results of free voting generate a more genuine reflection of the nation's attitude towards candidates/parties, and any mandate to govern that comes as a result is a fairer and more just outcome.
  • As per our Citizens Initiated Referendum Policy, a highly secure and encrypted online voting system shall be instituted for federal, State and local elections to expedite a more efficient and effective vote casting and counting process. The electronic online voting system will translate into a more convenient and time-effective method for voters that will combat voter apathy and complacency.
  • The ASP will require the national broadcaster ABC (television, radio and internet alike) to amend its Charter insomuch as it will deliver equal air time (or publishing space) to all registered political parties that can demonstrate that they can field candidates for a majority of both Upper and Lower House seats. Additionally, sufficient air time will be provided in order to allow live debate between representatives of all such contesting parties, and shall not be restricted only to the two largest parties.

 

5. A system that upholds greater media accountability

The media holds a position of great responsibility in society, and so must uphold the highest levels of transparency, accountability and honesty.  It is essential for any free and democratic society to have a trusted news media that will accurately report on all the issues that affect the nation.

To ensure accurate and honest reporting is upheld, the ASP proposes the following:

  • The government ombudsman service will be expanded to allow for greater media accountability.  The media ombudsman shall work with a council of independent assessors to give each media outlet an independent “rating” from 1 to 10, which can be regularly published online, in print and on air.  The rating will relate to the media outlet’s general level of honesty and impartiality in reporting (which can also relate to information deliberately being withheld).  This rating system can be constantly updated as new information becomes available.  It is intended that the rating system can help the public make informed choices as to whom they choose to trust for accurate news reporting.
  • The media ombudsman service, apart from having independent assessors observing all the major media outlets, will allow journalists to confidentially submit information regarding stories and investigations they have conducted, yet were quashed or censored by their editors for various reasons.  Depending on the circumstances, these reports may affect the overall rating of the media outlets.  Any media outlet that takes punitive action against one of their journalists for reporting to the ombudsman will themselves be subject to sanctions.
  • Should the media ombudsman service have good reason to believe, or receive verifiable evidence from the public that a news media outlet has deliberately or unintentionally misled the public by reporting falsehoods, they will be required to publish a full retraction.  The retraction (and where relevant the true story) will have to be reported at the same time slot, or on the same page, allocating the same amount of space and or time that the original misrepresentation or falsehood was reported.

    If found to be deliberate, depending on the severity of the deception or cover up a media outlet could be charged with conspiracy to pervert the truth, and could be liable for penalty actions, against the broadcaster, and the individual journalists, editors and publishes directly involved.
  • The ASP would like to institute a new television program that should be run on the ABC every week night from 8-8:30pm.  Each of the 226 Federal MP’s and Senators will be provided with a 10 minute time slot every 4 months to speak on television in order to provide Australians with a quick account of who they are, what they stand for, and briefly describe their duties and undertakings as a representative of the people.  Each episode will feature 3 federal representatives, speaking for 10 minutes each.

    All Australians should be encouraged to watch or record the program so that they can get to know who the people are that serving the public in the federal parliament, and what they stand for and what they have been doing.  The program could be repeated at another time slot every morning.

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Comment by Phyllus on April 8, 2016 at 13:18

In WA, we have an Office of the Public Advocate, and State Administrative Tribunal, which had the power to investigate, assist and even intervene in cases where a Government agency was acting unfairly and oversee operations and working policies, essentially to act on the behalf of citizens. Slowly, their powers are being stripped away, and I know that the Department of Child Protection and Family Services (they like their mouthful names) no longer answers to them. I feel that all Departments should come under them. I understand that one of their functions is to determine whether or not people are legally capable of acting  on their own behalf, and if not, appointing a Guardian - which is highly useful at times, but is a power to be closely monitored. 

Comment by Phyllus on April 3, 2016 at 13:29

But overall, I do like the system of keeping them accountable. In the interest of accountability, I really do like this policy. I see John has an interest in the elections of police, and I kind of actually agree with him. I actually do know a couple of Commissioners, and one I know very well personally, I have no trouble saying he is there out of merit and expertise, and professional accomplishment. The other Commissioner I know personally, I don't know as well, but from what I have seen, he's very highly trained and respected, and actually seems to take a personal, genuine and reasonable interest in his job, and from what I have seen, I actually like him. I would hate to see either of them have their jobs jeopardized due to elections, and neither are particularly interested whatsoever in campaigning or anything to do with elections. Not to mention, in their positions, at times it is their job to deny some people of the ability to do what they want and thereby making them unhappy. The two I know seem to try not to do that, but at the end of the day, it can't happen. 

Comment by Phyllus on April 3, 2016 at 13:19

I think that there should be an extra section for public servants which actually work and provide services, so these employees are separate from politics, Government and beauracrats. The public sector also includes teachers, nurses, doctors, mailmen (when Australia post did not sub-contract), agricultural advisors, scientists working for CSIRO and other Government-owned and funded agencies etc, cleaners, teacher's aides and all staff in schools, social workers/counsellors, mental health professionals (in dire need of separation from corporations and Big Pharma) and we generally expect them to be apolitical. These are workers who are not generally known to be out to wrought the system, and many are actually useful. 

Just one thing, if any funding to political parties should be an issue, as much should be done as possible to separate political parties from sponsorship and donations, as this is responsible for a lot of vested interests and corporate entanglement with government, and special-interest groups lobbying. If funding is from the the treasury, then it's very easy to monitor and manage compared to private funding. Rather than apportion funding according to number of votes received, maybe work out a system that is friendlier to minor parties and microparties, where funding is allocated on policy content, such as how many platforms they are running on, so ensure parties which have more than one interest receive more funding for elections than those without, in addition to how many running candidates they have. 

Just my 2 cents. 

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