A private members bill sponsored by the Greens that calls for the introduction of a federal anti-corruption commission was passed by the Senate on 9 September. Labor, Centre Alliance and independent senator Jacqui Lambie supported the bill, which was passed 35-32. The federal government will likely use its numbers to ensure that the bill does not get put to a vote in the House of Representatives, while government senators claimed that the Greens’ proposed model for a federal anti-corruption commission was too broad. From The AFR:
The legislation is largely symbolic, with the government to use its lower house majority to stop it being voted on in the House of Representatives, but is a declaration of the Senate’s view that the government’s proposed model for a federal integrity commission is too weak.
“Now the pressure is firmly on the Morrison government to back this bill in the House and do the job properly, or at the very least upgrade their toothless watchdog thought bubble,” Greens deputy leader Larissa Waters said.
“Community confidence in political leaders has plummeted following scandals involving both major parties and there is no longer any excuse for running a protection racket for politicians engaged in corruption and dodgy dealings.”
Under the Greens model, five commissioners would be appointed: a national integrity commissioner and an assistant; a law enforcement integrity commissioner and an assistant; and a whistleblowing commissioner.
It would have the power to investigate bureaucrats, ministers and MPs.
The 2016 Four Corners report, “Money and Influence”, showed unambiguously that the money for favours culture runs deep in Australian politics.
Given the growing influence exerted over the Australian political system by the Chinese, a federal ICAC is an absolute must.