- The Federal government is increasingly isolated from the challenges faced by ordinary Australians.
- The political class, including the media and bureaucracy, live in a “Canberra Bubble”.
- We propose a plan to burst the Canberra Bubble and bring about more transparency, accountability and efficiency to government.
The Canberra Bubble
The 'Canberra Bubble' isolates politicians and the bureaucracy. Australian Conservatives believe there is a better way, where principles are put before politics, and policies are more important than personalities. We must bring transparency, accountability and efficiency to government.
1. Stop Post Parliamentary Benefits
Benefits handed out to politicians after they leave parliament are not reflective of societal expectations and Australian Conservatives will stop any new payments for former politicians. Those who have qualified previously for Parliamentary Pensions will only be eligible to receive them upon reaching retirement age. Further, whilst recognising the status of the office of Prime Minister, a former Prime Minister must serve a minimum of four years in that position to be eligible for post-Parliamentary benefits.
2. Reform the rules on donations to political parties
Donations to political parties, candidates and associated political entities should only be made by individuals and capped at an annual amount. All contributions in excess of the disclosure threshold should be disclosed in ’real time’.
3. Disclose the costs of operating political offices
Australian Conservatives believe that every citizen should be able to see how politicians spend taxpayers’ money. All publicly funded expenditure incurred in supporting a parliamentarian whilst in office should be made publicly available in real time.
4. Public database of government spending
Australian Conservatives support introducing a publicly available, easily searchable database of spending across the whole of government as a means of improving transparency and accountability of public spending.
5. Support our Federation and system of Federalism
We will respect the division of responsibilities between the Commonwealth and the States in order to improve the efficiency, decision-making and accountability of government and reduce waste.
6. Reform of Parliament
We support the introduction of term limits for all politicians and restoring the principal role of the Senate as the States’ house. Australian Conservatives support Senate reform including: having Senators sit in State instead of party blocks, having no Senators form part of executive government and constitutional reform to resolve deadlocks without recourse to a double dissolution election.
7. A Pay Freeze for Politicians and Senior Public Servants
Those who formulate and implement public policy must be held accountable for the outcomes of their policies and we will continue to push for a freeze on politicians’ and executive-level public servants’ pay until the budget returns to surplus.