April 21, 2022

Haines backs business leaders demanding integrity in politics and government spending

Independent Federal Member for Indi Helen Haines has backed the results of a new national survey from the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) which found more than 70 per cent of company directors surveyed are in favour of a federal anti-corruption watchdog.

The AICD survey also found more than 50 per cent of directors do not trust the federal government.

“This is extremely concerning for business confidence and a strong economic recovery.

“It is especially worrying at a time when gross national debt is teetering on $1 trillion, and households are being hit with cost of living pressures and future interest rate rises.

“It is simple economics. Taxpayer dollars should be invested in projects with clear returns on investment,  not sweetheart deals to protect political careers or to win votes. Business leaders are astute economic managers and can see right through the waste.

“The establishment of a robust federal integrity commission with teeth, like the one I have prosecuted in parliament for the past three years, would restore trust and save us billions.

“If there was less waste and more accountability, we could slash waiting times for GPs, reduce wait times and gap fees for psychologists and build new hospitals and aged care facilities.

Helen Haines was the most vocal advocate for an integrity commission this parliament, tabling her own Australian Federal Integrity Commission Bill in 2020 when it became clear the Prime Minister had broken his election promise to establish one.

“The Coalition government does not want an integrity commission with teeth, because it knows it will prevent them from using billions in taxpayer funds to buy votes at election time.

“If it was not for a strong independent voice in parliament like mine, the Prime Minister may have got away with it. I will never be a doormat for a major party. I will always fight for this.

The Chief Economist at the Australia Institute also released a new report today which claims that the $7.4 billion promised by Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce for new dam projects in North Queensland without a business case is “the biggest pork barrel in Australian history” and a blatant attempt to buy votes in regional seats held by the Coalition ahead of the election.



“That money could have been invested in our aged care sector instead. That kind of investment would create more than 48,000 jobs in aged care, which desperately needs a strong workforce.

“The latest figures from PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and Transparency International show worsening perceptions of corruption in Australia reduced GDP by up to $72.3 billion since 2012. That is an enormous amount of damage given the state of the economy.

“Fighting for integrity isn’t a niche issue. It is vital not only to the strength of our democracy, but also to the strength of our economy,” Dr Haines said.

In a press statement released by the AICD, the Managing Director and CEO, Angus Armour, said “establishing a federal anti-corruption watchdog is critical to maintain integrity of government.”

The AICD Director Sentiment Index Survey has tracked business and economic attitudes across the Australian business sector for the past decade.

It was conducted online throughout February and March 2022 ahead of the federal election, with a representative sample of over 1700 company directors across Australia including respondents from major publicly listed and private Australian companies.

Dr Haines is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and held senior company director and board positions across North East Victoria prior to entering parliament.

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