We need a Federal Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC).
The Australian Council of Professions (ACoP) members know that in times of trouble trust is essential to a healthy functioning of society.
Peter Strong, ACoP’s Head of Advocacy, stated “Many professions have their own internal and external processes for investigation and enforcement of professional rules and ethical behaviours. In some in some cases for centuries. Professionals know this is essential – and wonder what’s the big deal with a Federal ICAC?”
Mr Strong continued “these processes were developed to protect their reputations by querying, naming, punishing and sometimes expelling those who bring the particular profession into disrepute. This approach comes from a deep sense of responsibility for protecting the public interest, for preventing breaches of public trust, for guiding the conduct of professional members and for maintaining the integrity of a profession. Examples of early self-regulation includes the Hippocratic Oath for Physicians and the Inns of Court for London barristers.”
ACoP members know that a professional who breaches the rules faces public shame and an uncertain future. It is not a good fate and there are thankfully only a few who have suffered from this outcome, but it essential for the the support of those who work hard to build and maintain the all-important trust.
There are also a lot of government-imposed regulations and investigations. The Professions see no reason why others, including politicians, should not also have a similar process.
Mr Strong further stated “Most politicians are good and honest people and, as with all groups particularly those in positions of influence and power, there is temptation to abuse these positions.
We ask no more than what professional associations and government impose upon the professional community – an independent mechanism for dealing with complaints and where necessary recommending punitive actions.”
This should be done for the sake of maintaining and where necessary rebuilding trust.
We know that public trust in many of our institutions has fallen and the politicians need to match the professions in challenging that perception and increasing trust to acceptable levels.