Integrity, Transparency & Accountability
In Australia, we have seen trust in politicians eroded over the last 15 years. From scare campaigns to misuse of tax payer money (travel rorts, carpark rorts, sports rorts), downright corruption to poor treatment of women in office, Australia has seen it all. Having 7 Prime Ministers in that time hasn't helped. The experience of the last 15 years is why Australia has recorded the second biggest fall in public perception of corruption in the world since 2012 (second to Hungary). In 2012 Australia was ranked 7th in the world for transparency and accountability in public office but by 2021 we had fallen to 18th.
Recent polling has produced evidence of strong support for a Federal anti-corruption watchdog. And I believe this reflects the desire of the majority of the public to have transparency and accountability in all levels of government, including Local Government. Conflict of interest, misconduct and corruption has been rife in local governments around Australia for years, and it erodes trust in public officials. Many ratepayers believe that their Councillors, Alderman and Mayors are acting out of self interest rather than public good. Even in Hobart City Council, we have seen a history of deals for mates and property developers as elected officials but in a society where nepotism is the norm should we be surprised?
For example, sitting councillors and prominent council candidates don't see that owning and operating Airbnbs in Hobart city could be a conflict of interest - or at the very least a perceived conflict of interest - when voting on short stay accomodation legislation. Some didn't even declare that they are operators prior to voting. This is just one recent example of questionable judgement from prospective and elected officials and I think that is wrong! it erodes public faith and isn't good for democracy.
So how will my experience contribute to a council with transparency and integrity at the forefront of every decision?
Over many years, Reader's Digest has surveyed their subscribers for the most trusted professions. In the last couple of decades, Paramedics have been on the top of that list most years. On occasion, paramedics are usurped by doctors and nurses. I come from a household that has all three of those professions. I am a serving paramedic, I have been a registered nurse in the past and my wife is a doctor working in the public sector. However, these trust surveys around the world consistently show politicians rank at the lower end of the survey for trust. So, as I put my hand up to be a politician, it's a difficult thing to reconcile.
As a healthcare worker I am expected to be beyond reproach. Our code of conduct stipulates that I must act with integrity at all times. I intend to continue as I have for the last 13 years, to act with integrity for the good of the people I serve. I will be transparent in my decision making, I will not accept money or favours from anyone in return for favourable decision making. I will act only with The City and its residents at the heart of every decision. I will also advocate for a stronger Tasmanian Integrity Commission to stop "deals for your mates" and a stronger Director of Local Government who can refer councillors more easily for code of conduct breaches, particularly in relation to corrupt practices.
When you vote this year consider this: "Why is the candidate running?" and "What could the candidate gain, outside of council business, as a result of being elected?" Look for the people who only want to make this wonderful city better, with nought to gain in their own business or financial interests.
Nb. I do not own or operate a business, I do not own any property other than my own, I do not accept donations: my campaign is funded from savings and wages earned through the provision of healthcare.
Integrity: the quality of being honest & having strong moral principles
Transparency: a process that involves being completely visible and open to scrutiny, so that it's clear that nothing is being hidden
Accountability: being willing to accept the consequences resulting from your choices, actions or behaviours.