This transcript of a speech given by Labor senator John Faulkner discusses the idea of political integrity and ethics.
No-one ever argues that governments should have less integrity, that elected officials should not be accountable, or that public servants should behave unethically. Broad statements of the value of integrity, transparency, accountability and ethics gain general agreement from all sides of politics and from all participants in public debate.
But government integrity demands more than general expressions of goodwill. Enhancing transparency and accountability requires supportive structures as well as declarations of priorities. And cultivating ethical behaviour needs more than simple, sweeping statements of expectations. Nor is integrity in government and in politics simply a declaration of the importance of individuals behaving ethically. Of course, they should behave ethically.