National Anti-Corruption Commission
Speech to Parliament by Libby Coker MP on 16 February 2022:
Yesterday the Attorney-General confirmed that the Morrison government will not fulfill its promise to implement a federal anticorruption watchdog before the election.
This is yet another broken promise from the Morrison government—the worst, most scandal ridden government we've ever seen. Already during this sitting we've had the Religious Discrimination Bill dumped by this government, after causing so much anxiety and division, and now they won't even bring their anticorruption bill to the House. As usual, they are blaming everyone else to deflect from their own incompetence.
Senator Cash accused Labor of playing politics and said this was the reason the bill was not being introduced—just laughable! The real reason they won't introduce it is the brightest legal minds in the country have labelled their version of an anticorruption commission as a weak, ineffective and secretive body. Here is what the Centre for Public Integrity has said about the Prime Minister's ICAC: 'It's a sham designed to cover up corruption, and the weakest watchdog in the country.'
The truth is the Morrison government is so terrified of what a powerful, independent and transparent anticorruption commission—one with teeth, if we had our way—will reveal about its behaviour. Last week the Attorney-General said the government didn't have time to legislate a federal ICAC. She said passing religious freedom laws was the government's most pressing priority. Well, we know what a disaster that turned out to be. They didn't even have the support of their own party room to pass that legislation.
This is a government in chaos. There is no time for a federal ICAC, what with all the scandals and rorts in the Morrison government. Almost every single day we see report after report in our media about their rorts such as car park rorts, sports rorts, the Western Sydney airport land rip-off, robodebt, use of forged papers, the appointment of dozens of former staff and Liberal members to highly-paid government jobs without due process—the list goes on and on. There's no end to the scandals and rorts in the Morrison government. But not only is this government too busy defending itself from scandals; it is petrified of what a powerful anticorruption watchdog will uncover about it and its conduct.
Every state and territory now has a dedicated anticorruption commission. Every single member and senator in this parliament, apart from those on the other side, is united against the Morrison government in demanding an independent anticorruption watchdog with teeth. The Australian people have made it abundantly clear they want one. The constituents in my electorate of Corangamite tell me this every day—that they want a federal ICAC.
And the only thing standing between us getting one is this Morrison Liberal government.
There is an absolutely pathetic broken promise here, and Australians have had enough.
They are sick and tired of a government that refuses to lead, a government that refuses to be accountable, a government that has no integrity and a government that uses taxpayers' money for its own personal slush fund. No wonder the Australian public is disillusioned with politicians and is cynical about government; they are living through the worst, most self-serving scandal ridden government Australia has ever had.
The Australian people deserve better than this. The only pathway now to getting rid of this government and having a national anticorruption commission is to vote the Morrison government out. Only a Labor government will deliver a transparent, independent, powerful anticorruption body—a national ICAC. It would operate as a standing royal commission and it would have independent powers to investigate. Unlike the Morrison government, Labor has no tolerance for corruption—and neither do the Australian voters.
We need to restore confidence and integrity in our political system, and the only way to do this is to vote in an Albanese Labor government.Share Tweet