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Greens, independents won’t be rushed on integrity watchdog

Crossbench members have pledged not to stand in the way of passing a federal anti-corruption commission, but have warned the government they will not rubber stamp their bill.

Sep 26, 2022, updated Sep 26, 2022
Greens leader Adam Bandt, one of the signatories on a letter to the government warning they won't rush through a bill "that doesn't make the grade". Photo: AAP/David Crosling

Greens leader Adam Bandt, one of the signatories on a letter to the government warning they won't rush through a bill "that doesn't make the grade". Photo: AAP/David Crosling

In a joint letter, the Greens and independent MPs and senators say they want a commission to be set up properly after engaging in “good faith” consultations with the governments over the preceding months.

“We won’t delay the process for political games or point scoring,” the letter signed by 15 parliamentarians reads.

“But won’t be rushed to vote in favour of a bill that doesn’t make the grade.”

The crossbenchers have called for stronger whistleblower protections, oversight mechanisms, a sturdy budget allocation and the inclusion of third parties seeking to influence government decisions.

“We are united in a will for a better standard of politics, and an integrity watchdog that will be respected by the public and improve trust in our democracy,” the letter says.

“It is now up to the government to deliver an anti-corruption commission that is independent, strong, and trusted by the Australian people.”

Signatories include Greens leader Adam Bandt, teal independents, Bob Katter, Helen Haines, Andrew Wilkie, Rebekha Sharkie, Dai Le and Senator David Pocock.

The government will bring forward its anti-corruption commission bill in the House of Representatives following it going to caucus on Tuesday.

The bill is expected to go to a committee of MPs and senators for examination.

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The government is hoping to have the legislation passed this year but it could be pushed into next year if it’s held up in Senate and committee processes.

The opposition says while it’s supportive of a federal anti-corruption commission, it wouldn’t be tied to Labor’s model.

Opposition finance spokeswoman Jane Hume warned of “dire consequences” if the wrong approach is taken.

“Will there be procedural fairness and natural justice? Will hearings be in public or private? When will they be one or the other?” she said on Sunday.

“Because what we’ve seen in other states and other jurisdictions is when a (corruption commission) goes wrong, it actually affects people’s reputations … people have taken their lives.”

-AAP

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