Parliament Updates

Zali Steggall on including pork-barrelling in the NACC

24 November 2022


I rise to strongly support this amendment. Pork-barrelling is the absolute scourge of government decision-making in Australia. I don't think there could have been a more audible gasp from the community when the previous Premier of New South Wales admitted on transcript that pork-barrelling is just the norm, that that is how you allocate public money.

In circumstances when so many now communities have lost trust and faith in government and in government decision-making and when there is such a history of decisions of spending of public money where it has not been on a prevailing merit base or need of the community but for an ulterior purpose which is a political purpose, I do find it ironic because, traditionally, it has been the coalition that argued that decisions need to done on merit, that we couldn't possibly have quotas on other issues and things like that. But when it comes to spending public money, the merit case is subjugated to an ulterior purpose. Pork-barrelling is just corruption. It has been recognised as such, the public thinks it is that and it is absolutely a scourge on government decision-making. By explicitly excluding it from this National Anti-Corruption Commission, it flies in the face, I believe, of the expectations of our communities. I think the government will be judged on that, particularly for having provided cover for pork-barrelling.