Australia: Whose interests? Why defining the ‘public interest’ is such a challenge – Jane Johnston

“ut (despite its lack of definition) the public interest should mean more than legal compliance – it is as much about process and procedure as it is outcome. It’s also about governance and ethics.

Wheeler lists seven elements that better round out the full process that should take place:

complying with applicable law (both its letter and spirit);
carrying out functions fairly and impartially;
complying with the principles of procedural fairness/natural justice;
acting reasonably;
ensuring accountability and transparency;
exposing corrupt conduct or serious maladministration;
avoiding or properly managing private interests conflicting with official duties; and
acting apolitically in the performance of official functions.
There’s no rule book for working in the public interest and, despite arguments that it is too loose, ambiguous and easy to hide behind, it is an integral part of the discourse, law, regulation and governance of modern democracies.

The ConversationSome professions, such as the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales, have tackled it head-on. This would seem a prudent measure for all professions in the future.”

Inforrm's Blog

File 20170920 910 y2p3r0

The “public interest” is a political concept that’s regularly trotted out along with other democratic principles such as transparency and accountability. And, like transparency and accountability, it’s difficult to pin down exactly what it means.

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