Mark Dreyfus MP

Member for Isaacs
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Integrity For Students, But Not For Ministers

21 October 2020

The Morrison Government has established an integrity unit for higher education in Melbourne at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. At the same time, it has blamed COVID-19 for the failure to introduce its integrity commission for politicians and bureaucrats.

TANYA PLIBERSEK MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR EDUCATION AND TRAINING
MEMBER FOR SYDNEY
 
MARK DREYFUS
SHADOW ATTORNEY-GENERAL
SHADOW MINISTER FOR CONSTITUTIONAL REFORM
MEMBER FOR ISAACS

 
GRAHAM PERRETT MP 
SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR EDUCATION AND TRAINING 
MEMBER FOR MORETON 
 

INTEGRITY FOR STUDENTS, BUT NOT FOR MINISTERS
 

The Morrison Government has established an integrity unit for higher education in Melbourne at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. At the same time, it has blamed COVID-19 for the failure to introduce its integrity commission for politicians and bureaucrats.
 
In December 2018 Mr Porter and Mr Morrison claimed to have been working on “a robust, resourced, real system that will protect the integrity of Commonwealth and public administration” since January 2018.
 
Mr Porter repeatedly blamed the COVID pandemic for his failure to release the draft bill, despite revelations in Senate Estimates today that the Attorney-General had been provided with the draft bill on December 23 2019 – months before the pandemic.
 
However, at the height of the pandemic, the Morrison Government established a Higher Education Integrity Unit to look into matters including students cheating in exams.
 
How did the Morrison Government have time to set up a Higher Education Integrity Unit, in Melbourne, in the middle of pandemic but not a National Integrity Commission?
 
How did the Morrison Government have time, in the middle of a pandemic, to set up a Higher Education Integrity Unit to monitor the integrity of students, but not a National Integrity Commission to look into sports rorts, the airport land ripoff, the water buy backs scandal, forged documents, and branch stacking?
 
Today’s evidence confirms the Morrison Government has no interest in integrity or fighting corruption and is using the COVID crisis as an excuse.
 
The integrity commission promised by Mr Morrison and Mr Porter was so weak, ineffective and opaque it would be unable to instigate independent inquiries, to hold public hearings, or even investigate any of the multiple past scandals of the Morrison Government.
 
The ever-growing list of scandals surrounding the Morrison Government shows why Australia needs a powerful and independent Audit Office, and a powerful and independent National Integrity Commission – and why Mr Morrison and his colleagues will do everything in their power to crush both of them.
 
WEDNESDAY, 21 OCTOBER 2020