Points of View 29th March 2019

Former Secretary of PMC on the next wave of reform ideas

by Scott Miller

This Points of view was written by Peter Timmins


In delivering the Jim Carlton Lecture to the Accountability Roundtable Terry Moran kicked off the debate with suggestions that include:


  • a return to a public service able to provide frank advice to Ministers,
  • formalising the role of Ministerial Advisers to make them accountable for their actions, thorough overhaul of laws governing political donations, and
  • the early release of information about donations, and
“An Integrity Commission with a broad brief to investigate maladministration, deficiency in policy advice and incompetence in program management.
This is likely to be most effective where FOI legislation is substantially reformed to reduce the range of exemptions from release and actually require the public release of business cases and business plans prepared to support capital investments and program initiatives actually approved for implementation.
Current FOI systems encourage obfuscation and support Sir Humphrey’s dictum that Freedom of Information should actually operate as Freedom from Information.
Other comparable democracies have disclosure regimes that look like the speed of light compared to our glacial progress. It breeds distrust and needs to stop.