SHADOW MINISTER FOR CONSTITUTIONAL REFORM
MEMBER FOR ISAACS
TELL MORRISON AUSTRALIANS WON'T COP HIS COVER UP COMMISSION
Australians have until 5PM today (AEDT) to tell the Prime Minister and Attorney-General they won’t stand for their weak, secretive and compromised “integrity” commission.
After more than seven years in office the Liberals have failed to take any action to tackle corruption, leaving the Commonwealth the only Australian government without a body dedicated to tackling corruption by public officials.
Instead, the Liberals deny there is a problem, make endless excuses, and now, under pressure, put forward a draft bill for a commission designed to be so weak, so secretive and so lacking in independence that instead of exposing corruption, it would instead cover it up.
If adopted, this is a commission that:
- would be unable to instigate its own independent inquiries into Government corruption;
- would be unable to hold public hearings when a corruption investigation relates to politicians or public servants; and
- is likely to be prevented from investigating any of the multiple past scandals of the Morrison Government.
It is no wonder the proposal has been universally condemned by experts with the Centre for Public Integrity denouncing it as “the weakest watchdog in the country”.
Former judge of the Victorian Court of Appeal, the Hon Stephen Charles AO QC described Mr Morrison’s proposal as “an attempt to protect ministers, politicians and senior public servants from investigations into serious corruption”.
Geoffrey Watson SC, former counsel assisting the NSW ICAC says the draft bill is “designed to cover up corruption, not expose it”.
Former Victorian Supreme Court judge, the Hon David Harper AM says it is a “toothless watchdog that fails to hold politicians to account and risks further eroding confidence in our political and democratic processes”.
In the more than two years since Mr Morrison finally promised to act on the community’s concerns about corruption, the need for a national anti-corruption commission has only grown stronger with sports rorts, Angus Taylor’s use of a document, the airport land scandal and Peter Dutton’s community grants scandal – to name only a few.
The ever-growing list of scandals surrounding the Morrison Government shows why Australia needs the powerful and independent anti-corruption commission and why Mr Morrison and his colleagues will do everything they can to stop one from being established.
All Australians are eligible to provide their feedback on the draft bill until 5pm AEDT at https://www.ag.gov.au/integrity/consultations/commonwealth-integrity-commission-consultation-draft
FRIDAY, 12 FEBRUARY 2021