In the lead up to the last federal election Prime Minister Scott Morrison promised a national anti-corruption commission.
Instead, Morrison put forward a farcical model that experts believe will actually “hide corruption, not expose it”.
According to Stephen Charles, Board member for the Centre for Public Integrity:
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Currently, Victoria’s IBAC is investigating in public hearings allegations of widespread branch-stacking by state and federal Labor MPs, and the NSW ICAC is investigating allegations including the question of “pork-barrelling” involving former Premier Gladys Berejiklian.
There is no federal body with similar powers to those of ICAC or IBAC dealing with parliamentarians…
The Coalition’s present proposal for a CIC will not expose corruption or impropriety by federal parliamentarians at all. It is not intended to. It is a sham, and the intention is to protect parliamentarians such as Mr Sukkar from any public investigation.
Despite the backlash from integrity experts, Prime Minister Scott Morrison claims the federal government’s proposed model for a commonwealth integrity commission is much stronger than the one being advocated by Labor. Morrison also warned against establishing an anti-corruption watchdog that is based on the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) in NSW. Morrison has described ICAC as a kangaroo court and accused it of “shameful attacks” on former premier Gladys Berejiklian:
Mr Morrison said, unlike the model being advocated by Labor, his would provide procedural fairness to individuals, would prevent the use of significant coercive powers on low-level misconduct and disciplinary offences, and safeguard against “baseless, politically motivated and time-wasting referrals”…
[Morrison] accused Labor of wanting a body more akin to the NSW ICAC “which has seen the most shameful attacks on the former premier of NSW Gladys Berejiklian”.
“What was done to Gladys Berejiklian, the people of NSW know, was an absolute disgrace,” he said.
“I’m not going to have a kangaroo court taken into this Parliament. These matters should be looking at criminal conduct, not who your boyfriend is.
Gladys Berejiklian was caught on tape throwing taxpayer money at her dodgy boyfriend Daryl Maguire’s electorate. It was a misuse of public money and power, pure and simple.
That Scott Morrison can defend such malfeasance says all we need to know.
The reality is that if a NSW/Victorian-styled anti-corruption commission was in effect federally, multiple Morrison Government MPs would likely have been exposed and forced to resign.
Thus, the Morrison Government doesn’t want an independent body scrutinising every shady deal and potentially handing out penalties. Accountability is not in its interest.
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