Branch stacking in the Labor Party ain’t exactly new so good to see the Premier finally sacking Adem Somyurek and referring him to IBAC but it’s not enough.
The 2014 political scandal ‘Red Shirts’ resulted in no charges. Late last year, IBAC Commissioner Robert Redlich, QC, confirmed to The Age that it was constrained in terms of both its powers and resources in what it can investigate itself.
Here’s what needs doing:
- Make it clear that branch stacking is a serious act of corrupt conduct within the definition of corruption in the Public Service Act.
- The Victorian Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission has very limited resources so fund it properly and strengthen its powers to investigate.
- Oblige the Premier and Ministers to notify IBAC when he/she/they see evidence of corruption (including branch stacking) just as heads of department and council CEOs must. See here.
- Routinely vet new member applications – give them a call, ask if they paid their dues, find out why they want to join. Get to know your members!
- Appoint a non-faction-aligned committee to approve new members.
- Make political parties subject to the same Victorian Rules of Association that apply to any other group in Victoria so they are more democratic, open, and transparent.