Crossbench continues push for National Integrity Commission

Crossbench continues push for National Integrity Commission

Federal Member for Mayo Rebekha Sharkie joined her five Crossbench colleagues this week in calling for the Government to create a National Integrity Commission.

Rebekha, together with independents Dr Helen Haines, Member for Indi; Zali Steggall, Member for Warringah; Andrew Wilkie, Member for Clark; and Bob Katter, Member for Kennedy; supported an unsuccessful attempt by Greens Leader Adam Bandt to suspend the normal operations of the House to force a debate on the National Integrity Commission Bill 2018 (No.2).

The Government used its numbers in the House to vote against the move.

The National Integrity Commission Bill 2018 (No.2) passed the Senate in 2019, and the Government currently has it in limbo.

 

The Government announced in 2018 that national corruption watchdog was a priority and that they would move to establish a National Integrity Commission, but have used the COVID-19 crisis to delay action.

 

Rebekha spoke at a press conference before the House met on June 11.

 

Rebekha Sharkie, Centre Alliance Member for Mayo.

 

“Public corruption is a serious issue and the Government is continuing to ignore the urgency in establishing a National Integrity Commission.  Australians should not have to wait any longer for a Commission with real teeth and so the Crossbench calls on the Government to either release its own legislation or to bring on the National Integrity Commission Bill 2018 (No.2) for debate.”

 

Adam Bandt MP, Greens Member for Melbourne:

“The government promised to do something years ago and have done nothing. Well, time is up. We are sick of waiting and are going to take action. This bill has already passed the Senate and if it passes the House it will become law.”

 

“After sports rorts, now more than ever we need an independent federal corruption watchdog,” Mr Bandt said today.

 

Helen Haines MP, Independent for Indi

It’s time the government spoke to us with some good old-fashioned honesty. By its actions, it doesn’t want us to see, discuss or hear about its way overdue Bill.

 

It’s time to allow debate on this Bill which has passed the Senate, meets the bar set by my predecessor and the Beechworth Principles and will restore integrity to our politics.

 

Andrew Wilkie, Independent for Clark 

 

“What have they got to hide? That’s what the community is asking and fair enough because any half-decent government would see the sense in having a first-rate anti-corruption body. The only way we are going to see confidence in governance restored in this country is for the Government and Opposition to work together and quickly set up a watchdog with teeth.”

 

Zali Steggall OAM, Independent for Warringah:

 

“It’s well past time for there to be a National Integrity Commission. We know that such a Commission is supported by 80 per cent of Australians* and there needs to be accountability and transparency; public hearings and independent referral pathways. There’s no reason why COVID-19 should delay this. If anything, a NIC should be accelerated when such large amounts of public money are being allocated without proper oversight.”

Bob Katter MP, Federal Member for Kennedy 

“I was one of two people who called on the Fitzgerald Inquiry in Queensland. The centre of the corruption was never, ever assailed.  Three books have been written on it now. Those in the know, know that the puppet master was never assailed – he got only 12 lines in the Fitzgerald Inquiry report. But it did remove the Commissioner of Police. Advertently or inadvertently, there was protection coming from the bad guys. I am voting for a Federal ICAC but I must warn that the number of innocent people whose lives have been destroyed by these Commissions is countless. In Queensland, it has gone a long way to destroying effective government. I am voting for it but I do so with great trepidation.”