Member for Kiama Gareth Ward will give notice of a bill in Parliament today to strengthen the ICAC Act to enshrine in legislation transparency measures that go the heart of previous ICAC inquiries, integrity in government and public confidence in the decision-making processes.
The Independent Commission Against Corruption Amendment (Ministerial Diary Disclosure) Bill 2023 will require, under the NSW Ministerial Code of Conduct, the publication of information relating to meetings involving Ministers or Parliamentary Secretaries.
“I strongly believe in transparency and accountability. If you are doing nothing wrong, you have absolutely nothing to hide so I trust this bill will receive support from anyone who genuinely believes in protecting trust and confidence in government,” Mr Ward said.
“The requirement for ministerial diary disclosure has never been enshrined in law and doesn’t presently extend to Parliamentary Secretaries who are part of the executive government.
“My bill will back-in recommendations from the ICAC emanating from Operation Eclipse which focused on transparency in lobbying and associated corruption risks when lobbying public authorities and public officials.
“Whilst Ministers have been asked by way of a Premier’s Memorandum to declare their dairies since July 2014, this bill will make this a statutory requirement.
“Parliamentary Secretaries have previously fallen through the cracks when it comes to disclosing their meetings with lobbyists.
“Given that Parliamentary Secretaries have greater access to Ministers and Cabinet process than other Members of Parliament, it is important that any meetings with lobbyists by a Minister’s Parliamentary Secretary be declared.
“This bill is not about pointing fingers, but it is about highlighting and preventing corruption risks. If this new Labor Government doesn’t want to make the mistakes of the last Labor Government, they will back this bill,” Mr Ward concluded.