We need a watchdog to police conflicts of interest

Accusations of “conflict of interest” abound whatever party is in power, not least because of the difficulties raised by the business interests of the spouse of the member of parliament.

The editor-at-large of The Canberra Times, Jack Waterford, in his Addendum piece on Saturday, (B2, Forum), posed the question, “What do other legislatures do about it?”

Waterford explained that, “Some nations though not Australia even have independent statutory officials to police the declarations of interest.” Sounds like a good idea, and it would take the heat off all politicians, John Howard included, especially now there is so much wriggle-room “commercial in confidence” applying to many FOI requests.

Phyllida Ives, Torrens (Canberra Times letter)

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