SA considers code deal
South Australia is considering boosting MP’s pensions in exchange for anti-lobbying rules.
A cross-party committee of South Australian MPs has called for generous lifetime pensions for politicians to be returned if they sign up to a code of conduct.
The South Australian Parliament is the only one that does not have such a code.
Former Independent Commissioner Against Corruption (ICAC) Bruce Lander said in September that Parliament's repeated refusal to endorse a code of conduct “fails to inspire confidence”, leaving without a clear mechanism to deal with misconduct by its own members.
Parliament's Crime and Public Integrity Policy Committee (CPIPC) has now called for that to change.
It has recommended formalising the non-binding “statement of principles” agreed by both houses of Parliament in 2016.
However, it would have one key addition that prevents retired politicians from becoming lobbyists for 10 years after they leave office.
“Former members of the Parliament of South Australia are to be prohibited from lobbying, advocating, having business meetings with, undertaking employment with or providing services to any members of Parliament, the public service, entities under the control of a Minister or agents of the same for a period of 10 years after ceasing to be a member,” the CPIPC’s report says.
To “facilitate compliance” with the code, the group recommended Parliament consider the reintroduction of a defined self-funded superannuation scheme.
SA Parliament used to provide most MPs with a lifetime pension upon leaving office through a generous defined-benefits scheme.
The committee said these pension schemes “have the potential to operate as an anti-corruption measure in respect of their beneficiaries”.
The said generous super benefits should be forfeited if an MP is convicted of corruption, or found to have breached the code of conduct by lobbying.
The SA Government says it will carefully consider the calls.