The Canberra Principles

The Australia Institute released a survey which asked parliamentarians a range of questions on acting with integrity, based on principles outlined by the Hon Tony Fitzgerald AC QC, former judge and leader of the Fitzgerald Inquiry, in an article published in the Sydney Morning Herald on the 12th April. The survey asked all MPs and Senator to answer yes or no:

"As a member of Parliament or the Executive Government, are you ethically obliged:

  1. To act honourably and fairly and solely in the public interest
  2. To treat all citizens equally
  3. To tell the truth
  4. Not to mislead or deceive
  5. Not to withhold or obfuscate information to which voters are entitled
  6. Not to spend public money except for public benefit
  7. Not to use your position or information gained from your position for your benefit or the benefit of a family member, friend, political party or other related entity?"

For more information on the principles, please read Tony Fitzgerald QC's opinion piece on the ABC and listen to his interview on RN Breakfast. For a broader discussion on the importance of political ethics please listen to the Policy Shop podcast with Tony Fitzgerald QC and University of Melbourne Vice Chancellor Glyn Davis.


44 prominent Australians, including David Harper AM QC, Paul Stein AM QC, Margaret McMurdo AC, George Williams AO and Nicholas Cowdery AM QC, have already joined with Tony Fitzgerald in calling on parliamentarians to commit to the Fitzgerald Principles:



The Hon David Harper AM QC

Former judge Supreme Court of Victoria, Senior Fellow Melbourne Law School

The Hon Paul Stein AM QC

Former judge of the NSW Court of Appeal, former President of the Anti-Discrimination Board

The Hon Margaret McMurdo AC

Former president of the Qld Court of Appeal

George Williams AO

Dean, UNSW Law

The Hon Kevin Rozzoli AM

Former speaker NSW Parliament, member Accountability Roundtable

Nicholas Cowdery AM QC

Former Director of Public Prosecutions, NSW

The Hon Peter Wellington MP

Speaker of the Queensland Parliament

Ged Kearney

President, Australian Council of Trade Unions

Andrew Dettmer

National President, Australian Manufacturers Workers Union

Gary Crooke QC

former senior counsel assisting the Fitzgerald Inquiry

Robert Richter QC


Carmel Benjamin AM

Director of Accountability Roundtable and Founder, Australian Citizens Against Corruption

Geoffrey Watson SC


Brian Walters AM QC


Emeritus Professor Meredith Edwards AM, ASSA

ANZSOG Institute for Governance, University of Canberra

Emeritus Professor Barbara Pocock

School of Business, University of South Australia

John Menadue AO

Public commentator

Jonathon Hunyor

CEO, Public Interest Advocacy Centre

Kristine Hanscombe QC


Dr Ian Reinecke AM

technology consultant, founding CEO NEHTA

Associate Professor Matthew Stubbs

Associate Dean, Adelaide Law School

Professor Cameron Hazlehurst

Adjunct Professor, ANU

Associate Professor Joo-Cheong Tham

Melbourne Law School

Associate Professor Lynne Chester

Department of Political Economy, University of Sydney

Tony Kenyon

President, Australian Lawyers Alliance

Stephen Keim SC


Professor Julianne Schultz AM FAHA

Founding editor, Griffith Review

Benedict Coyne

President, Australian Lawyers for Human Rights

Joshua Jones


Professor Graeme Orr

TC Beirne School of Law, University of Queensland

Dr Colleen Lewis

Adjunct Professor, Monash University

Maxine Mckew

John Cain Foundation

Howard Whitton

Visiting fellow, University of Canberra

Professor Tim Prenzler

Program leader, Criminology and Justice, University of Sunshine Coast

Professor A J Brown

Public Integrity & Anti-Corruption, Griffith University

Peter Koutsoukis

Principal, Maurice Blackburn

Josh Bornstein

Principal, Maurice Blackburn

Richard Carew

Partner, Carew Lawyers

Alex McKean


Rodney Hodgson

Principal, Maurice Blackburn

Klaas Woldring

former Associate Professor, Southern Cross University

Corinne Grant

Lawyer, Maurice Blackburn

Dr Richard Gould

Australian Citizens Against Corruption

Evelyn Doyle

FOI advocate

We the undersigned join with The Australia Institute and Tony Fitzgerald in calling on our parliamentarians to commit to the Principles.

Will you sign?