Making politicians more accountable

MARK Nevill’s warning about the widespread, deep-rooted misuse of taxpayers’ money by politicians is most timely.

WA’s State MPs are in unofficial election mode with Premier Richard Court to call a poll early next year.

With early indications suggesting the Government and Opposition are fairly evenly poised, any allegation of politicians abusing their position, particularly by misusing taxpayers’ money, could have a profound affect on the result.

The media would ensure blanket coverage.

Mr Nevill, the former Labor member now an independent, was most perturbed by the misuse of electoral offices and facilities.

He said offices and facilities of Federal Members were used to help the campaigns of State members.

He also claimed branch stacking was not uncommon in WA.

He quite rightfully argues that the Electoral Commissioner or a political ombudsman should be given more power to investigate political parties.

Few would argue against making politicians more accountable.

This is particularly so when election campaigns and parties receive substantial funding from taxpayers – a point Mr Nevill believed many taxpayers would not be aware of.

The $50,000 phone card bill of Federal Liberal frontbencher Peter Reith is the latest example of taxpayers’ money being wasted – no matter who was at fault.

It is time politicians were made more accountable and their punishment decided by someone else than their party leader.

WA Ministers Doug Shave and Kevin Prince are two examples of politicians considered lucky to have retained their positions, let alone their portfolios.

The election will determine if voters show as much leniency as the Premier.

However, it would seem right that there was a means between elections to make our elected leaders more accountable for their actions.

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