Government must keep promise on Federal Integrity Commission
The Federal Government must keep ALL of its legislative promises and introduce legislation that would establish a national integrity commission with real teeth, the Member for Mayo Rebekha Sharkie said today.
Speaking today after a procedural technicality prevented debate on a Private Members' Bill for an integrity commission, the Centre Alliance MP said it was disingenuous for a Government to introduce religious discrimination legislation because it was an election promise while continuing to stall on its promise for a Federal Integrity Commission.
"It's been more than 1,000 days since the Government said it would establish a Commission. Another election is imminent and still, there is nothing but an exposure draft and the promise that legislation is coming," Rebekha said.
"You lose faith with the Australian people when you pick and choose the election promises you keep, and you erode faith in the democratic process when you use a technicality to stop the will of the parliament from debating the issue you want to avoid.
"Today 66 Members of Parliament voted in favor of suspending standing orders so the Australian Federal Integrity Commission Bill introduced by my Crossbench colleague Helen Haines, the Independent Member for Indi, could be debated. The Government only had 64 votes.
"However, the rules of the House of Representatives say standing orders can only be suspended if there is an 'absolute majority', which is impossible right now because COVID restrictions have significantly reduced the number of MPs allowed into the Parliament.
"To use this rule to effectively stop the will of the parliament speaks volumes about the integrity of the current Government.
"It should also be noted that this rule was actually brought in after the previous Coalition Government nearly lost a vote in the House of Representatives that would have brought in a Royal Commission into the banking sector.
"We ended up with a Banking Royal Commission eventually, and history validates that decision, so the Government should just get on with it and deliver on its promise for a Federal Integrity Commission.
"I would like to commend the Liberal Member for Bass, Bridget Archer, for demonstrating the courage of her conviction in the need for a Federal Integrity Commission by crossing the floor to call for debate on Helen's Bill.
"That was an incredibly brave move and I only wish that the many other Coalition MPs who have privately and publically expressed their support for a Federal Integrity Commission had shown the same conviction."