“Currently there is no requirement for the public disclosure of who is given a sponsored pass for access to Parliament House,” said Senator Babet today. “I and some of my fellow Senators and Members have written to the Presiding Officers to call for public disclosure of sponsored pass holders.”
“Our system of government, where people consent to be governed is fragile, because it is built entirely upon trust. People give their consent to be governed because they trust that their elected representatives will be acting honestly and with integrity.
“From my very first day in the Senate, it was abundantly clear that there are far too many lobbyists and private interest groups within the halls of parliament. These individuals have direct and almost unfettered access to our elected representatives. The fact that the public does not know who these people are, has the very real potential to erode that public trust and goodwill.
“When people suspect that things are hidden, even if they’re not hidden, trust is eroded. But when people see that things are in the open and freely available for inspection then trust is built. There can be faith in government when lobbyists and others are exempt from scrutiny.
“How do you build and keep trust? The answer is transparency. Trust can only exist to the degree of transparency that is given. Transparency creates trust. Trust nourishes democracy.
“The public deserve to be able to see who our elected members of parliament are both meeting with and who that have provided with sponsored passes.
“I’m happy to be blazing this trail towards transparency while the major parties continue to drag their feet.”