The former leader of Australia’s largest state will present evidence of a corruption investigation this week, in a case that has raised broader concerns about the country’s political ethics ahead of next year’s general election.
Gladys Berejiklian, the former prime minister of New South Wales, resigned this month after it was revealed she was under investigation in relation to multi-million dollar grants to the constituency of Daryl Maguire, the former MP with whom she was living. Secret relationship.
Berejiklian is being investigated as to whether she has breached public trust and has denied wrongdoing.
Governance experts say the Berejiklian case highlights a crisis in Australian politics, with the country’s score dropping from 85 in 2012 to 77 out of 100 in the latest edition of Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index.
Australia has never had a national body to regulate corruption despite longstanding support among voters, with a base poll this month showing 78 percent of voters support the initiative.
Scott Morrison, Australia’s prime minister, has a poor majority and is lagging behind in opinion polls before a vote that should take place by May 2022. He promised anti-corruption efforts when he took office three years ago but has yet to implement one, despite revelations by the Integrity Commission in Commonwealth in December 2018.
Opposition politicians and some analysts criticized Morrison’s proposal. The Center for Public Integrity, a think-tank, said it would not be able to investigate on its own, accept complaints from the public, and initiate an investigation until it is reasonably satisfied that a criminal offense has occurred or hold public hearings.
The opposition Labor proposal would create a body that could hold public hearings, receive corruption complaints from the public, and initiate investigations when deemed appropriate.
The New Liberals, a newly formed party led by a veteran lawyer, proposed a system with powers similar to the Labor model but would also have its own prosecution arm and a separate court would be set up to handle his cases.
Support for major political parties has waned as voters turn to smaller parties and independent candidates, and trend experts say corruption scandals have been exacerbated by corruption scandals.
A Newspoll poll this month found that 13 percent of voters support independents and small parties, a four-year high.
Anthony Wylie, a former NSW High Court judge who now heads the Center for Public Integrity, said corruption at the federal level was causing mistrust.
He added: “People in the community are aware of the fact that there is a lot of inappropriate behavior going on, and it is advertised in the media, but no one has been held accountable for that.”
Morrison may hope that voters will place less emphasis on issues of political corruption closer to the election.
Sarah Cameron, a political expert at the University of Sydney, said the extent to which scandals affect voters “depends largely on whether issues of integrity and corruption are salient at election time”.
She added that the Covid-19 epidemic was dominating the attention, but “things could change between now and the elections.”