Helen Haines, Independent MP, has introduced a private members bill for a federal integrity commission and is strongly arguing that government be allowed to debate this in parliament.
Government has at best been dragging its feet on this critical issue, at worst it would prefer to ignore the whole idea.
Haines’ anti-corruption bill would hold public hearings, allow the public to make referrals, including full retrospectivity, be able to look at past cases, and establish a new code of conduct for parliamentarians. Haines has assured the parliament that all the appropriate checks and safeguards to protect the integrity of its work and to protect the reputation of innocent people would be clearly set out.
In 2018 the attorney-general Christian Porter proposed the first draft bill for the body but it lacked any real ‘teeth’ and since then the bill appears to have been put on the back burner as COVID-19 has taken priority. It also lacked the capacity to offer public hearings for politicians and their staff, no public referrals, and no retrospectivity. In other words, too many escape routes for questionable dealings.
Corruption appears to be endemic in this present environment. We have Christine Holgate of the Australian Post giving $5000 watches away to public servants in Australia Post who are already on high salaries; ASIC chair and vice-chair have both been found to be charging huge sums of money to the public purse when they related to personal bills; sports rorts favouring liberal party seats…and on it goes!
It will reflect badly on the present government if this commission is once again put aside. The public is calling for it and politicians need to be listening to their constituents.
Ref: Madeleine Hislop – journalist of Sporty Wrap and Women’s Agenda
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