Trust Deficit: Voters Want More Transparency, Greater Penalties for Rorting MPs

New research from The Australia Institute

shows three in five South Australians (58%) do not trust Members of State Parliament when it comes to claiming their salary and benefits.

The Australia Institute survey of 510 South Australians between 23 and 27 July 2020 also showed voters want to see every MP’s full salary and benefits published publicly and greater penalties introduced for MPs who are found to have incorrectly claimed benefits that they are not entitled to.

Key Findings:

  • Three in five South Australians (58%) do not trust their State MPs to act in an honest and transparent way when it comes to claiming their salary and benefits.
  • Only one in three South Australians (31%) trust their State MPs in that regard.
  • Seven in ten South Australians (72%) support having the full salary and benefits paid to each State MP listed publicly.
  • Nine in ten South Australians (88%) support tougher penalties for State MPs who are found to have incorrectly claimed benefits and received public money that they were not entitled to.

“Our research shows that there is a clear deficit of trust in Members of State Parliament amongst South Australians right now,” said Noah Schultz-Byard, South Australian Director at The Australia Institute.

“Voters want greater transparency from their MPs and they want to see them face tougher penalties when they have done something wrong.

“While State Parliament has been embroiled in a significant expenses scandal, our research has shown that a transparent, accessible, searchable and up to date register of the full salary and benefits being paid to each MP would be welcomed by the vast majority of South Australians.

“A transparent and effective system of accountability would help to protect the reputation of the vast majority of MPs who behave responsibly and do the right thing.

“Being a politician can be a hard and very demanding job. Long hours spent working away from families, in often difficult circumstances, should be recognised with adequate compensation. What the voters won’t accept though is dodgy behaviour and a lack of transparency or accountability from their elected officials.”

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