In many ways, the Green party is ahead of the curve politically, voluntarily doing things that we advocate changing the political system to make normal- from ensuring fair representation for women to determining candidates by open vote, usually we’re pretty good at being the change we believe in. But that’s not the case everywhere- I think I/S has a point when he said today that if we support transparency, we should be transparent ourselves. It wouldn’t be terribly hard to at least announce we’re putting something in the works to publicly release our own MPs’ travel costs, and we have good records here even though as a small party composed of entirely list MPs we’re subject to a lot of travel costs to consult with constituents scattered across the nation.
Abiding by our own policies ahead of time shifts the debate and shows people we’re not just “too radical”, (not that telling taxpayers how we spend their money deserves to be labelled as radical in any way- it’s merely a topic MPs try to stay quiet on so they don’t have to do it) we’re actually practical and we can implement our own policies without trouble. So long as individual MPs have no independent checks, public disclosures, or even the slightest disincentive to claim taxpayer money for private travel, there will be frivolous use. We already set a standard for meaningful communication with the public as a party, so why not complete that with release of expenditures? There’s a good case to be made here for campaign expenditures too: by revealing our expenditures and notifying our medium to large donors that their names will be published during electoral campaigns, we could influence the debate significantly, especially if we press release the information on a slow news day.