The Morrison Government may abandon or delay plans to table legislation in the Senate to establish a federal anti-corruption commission. The government had been hoping that the Senate would send the bill to a committee that might not report back until 2022, which may not leave enough time for Parliament to debate the bill before the federal election.
However, with at least two Coalition senators – Queenslander Gerard Rennick and South Australian Alex Antic – threatening to withhold their votes over vaccine mandates, this could allow Labor, Greens and independent senators to amend the legislation rather than send it to a committee.
Although the government would have the numbers to block the amended legislation in the House of Representatives, it is conscious of the possibility of embarrassment in the Senate.
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From The AFR:
Chaos in the Senate has raised fears within government that Labor, the Greens and independents, all of which are demanding a much tougher commission than that which the government is likely to propose, could instead amend the bill rather than send it to an inquiry…
Senior sources stressed that while Cabinet had signed off on the commission, no final decision had been made as to when to introduce the legislation.
Options include introducing it at the very end of the sitting fortnight, delaying until next year or just taking it to an election and avoiding Parliament altogether.
Shadow attorney-general Mark Dreyfus said if the bill failed to eventuate in the next fortnight, it would underscore his belief the government was never serious about its promise to establish the commission.
“He promised Australians an integrity commission 6 months before the last election. Why would anyone believe him at the next election?” he said.
Multiple experts have raised concern that the proposed federal anti-corruption commission is a farce that will “hide corruption, not expose it”.
Thus, I would prefer no anti corruption commission than one that is half baked and designed to mask wrongdoing.
Based on recent polling, there’s a very good chance the Morrison Government will lose the upcoming election. Labor has stated publicly that it supports a proper anti-corruption commission. Thus, we are better to wait until after the election so that Labor can do it properly.