We must stamp out corruption and bring the NSW Government to account:
- The Greater Public Good
- An End to Corruption, Waste and Incompetence
- Democratic Open Decision Making
- Integrity, Objectivity and Accountability
- Public Service Serving the Public, Not the Politicians
The focus of New South Wales Governments in recent years has been entirely on winning and retaining office. No longer is there any interest in providing good services to the general public, in efficient use of public funds, in improving the environment, or in benefiting the community. The public service has been politicised so as to serve the re-election goals of the party in power. As a result corruption is rife, the effectiveness of government has been destroyed, public confidence in government has evaporated and the quality of life of New South Wales citizens has been compromised.
During the past decade the economy of New South Wales has gone backwards. Citizens are moving to other states. Housing has become unaffordable. The civil service has become inefficient. It proved incapable of putting forward an acceptable case for Federal Infrastructure funds. It made a mess of the school rebuilding program. There has been scandal after scandal. Leadership by example, so necessary for a well-run state, has been dreadful.
Basic fundamental changes are urgently required to halt the slide into further degradation. The aim of the Save Our State Party is to attain sufficient presence and influence in government to effect the desperately needed changes.
Leading by exampleIt is vital that the highest standards of government and public administration be set from the top. The conduct of ministers must be exemplary in terms of probity and efficiency.
ReportingWatchdog bodies to report to parliament and not to a minister.
Coordination between Councils and StateThe State government's unexpected imposition of electricity expenses on local governments has shocked and weakened councils' ability to provide services and maintain their infrastructure. There have been similar unpleasant surprises from the State. No enterprise, whether it be the government or a business can function effectively when it has little or no control over its expenditures. Proper planning, budgeting and coordination at state and local government levels must be established to ensure prudent and competent financial management. This is the basis on which the NSW State government can influence safer sustainable local government that benefits all its citizens.
On TV in 2001 our community organization Save Our Suburbs first brought the invidious practice of political donations to the attention of the wider public. Party-political donations of any kind at any level of government or administration, direct or indirect, must be strictly controlled.
See the SOS submission to the Commonwealth Government.
Five PrinciplesTo eliminate abuse, in addition to provisions in recent legislation, Save Our State proposes five principles:
- Political donations be restricted to registered voters with an upper limit of say, two thousand dollars. Donations from corporations, organizations and groups and interstate transfers should be banned.
- There should be an increase in funding from the public sector with funding available to all genuine parties, big and small.
- Government initiatives should be aimed equitably for all electorates and there should be no pork-barrelling for electorates that favour a particular party.
- There should be continuous disclosure of electoral income and expenditure, so increasing the probability of abuses being timeously revealed.
- Pecuniary Interest Tribunals, similar to those used for Local Government should be established to reveal any links between donations and political actions.
Public and Community Consultation by Government has become insincere, tokenist and manipulative, leaving communities deeply frustrated, cynical and angry.
Government must genuinely listen to and consult with communities and provide them with effective means of participation in decision-making processes, with rights of challenge and appeal. See also Planning bureaucracy to be open and accountable.
Government policy must be fiscally responsible and New South Wales has to live within its means.
The government now employs very large numbers of public relations and media consultants, at great public cost, to manipulate and influence its public image. The Premier's Department is the worst offender. It is time to bring to an end such misuse of our money.
A great many senior government appointments and government jobs in the last 15 years have been given not on merit or ability, but as forms of party-political patronage, reward and favouritism. A minister has power to appoint and sack the head of a department without explanation. This has happened several times. Departmental heads can no longer give a minister unfettered advice without risking being sacked This inevitably in the end must render them reliant on that minister and steers their departmental objective to work to maximise the re-election chances of the minister rather than working for the public benefit.
A public service act must be introduced to ensure that:
- The public service must be independent of party political pressure.
- A Public Service Commission must be established to exercise control of or supervise the appointment of staff. The members of this commission should be appointed by a representative panel of parliamentarians and approved by both houses of Parliament. Promotions must be on merit. The Commission must also be charged to identify and nurture talent, promoting management efficiency and developing an effective consultancy service. Senior appointments and appointments to the judiciary should be approved by both houses of Parliament.
- A code of conduct and ethical obligations must be established.
- Officials must be held personally responsible for their actions.