Editorial - Monday, October 21: Why fear transparency?

TRANSPARENCY is the key to good governance.

Warren Mundine, the Coalition's chief indigenous advisor, repeated this simple maxim a few times in an interview with ABC a fortnight ago.

And it's true.

And I ask our councillors to keep this maxim in mind over the coming days as we discuss transparency around their expenses.

The figures we are talking about here may not sound like huge amounts of money- about $80,000 -but this isn't the point.

The misappropriation of one cent of public money exposes an attitude inappropriate for public office.

If you can't be trusted with how you spend public money on yourself you certainly can't be trusted to allocate it fairly within the community.

And it's worth noting there is no inference, or evidence, or even rumour of any impropriety on behalf of a councillor.

There's just no way of knowing because councillor's expenses have not been detailed.

But in the case of expenses there is a very simple solution, which I would like to see councillors pass at their next meeting.

Clarence Valley Council should create an online register detailing all expenses authorised under the Councillor Expenses and the Provision of Facilities for Councillors Policy.

The register should be updated every time an expense is processed and include, which councillor was given money and how much they were given.

Several of our councillors have told me they are upset because the public will think they are making claims they say they aren't.

This register solves the problem and I will say this as a justification for the policy.

The person who has nothing to hide has no fear of transparency.

Lachlan Thompson

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