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Cowardly PM shelves corruption watchdog bill as government unravels

Media Release
Larissa Waters 19 Nov 2021

Reports that Scott Morrison will abandon his weak anti-corruption body until after the election shows that he never intended to do it in the first place.

Morrison promised that he would introduce a federal integrity commission more than 1000 days ago, but has since pulled every trick in the book to avoid meeting his commitment, and has refused to bring on the Greens bill for a strong corruption watchdog in the House despite it passing the Senate two years ago.

Greens deputy leader and spokesperson on democracy Senator Larissa Waters said:

“It’s being reported today that Scott Morrison is abandoning his long-promised integrity commission legislation because he can’t be sure of support from his own backbench or his usually willing accomplices in One Nation.

“This suits him beautifully because it’s another excuse not to progress an integrity body. 

“That the PM is prioritising a divisive bill about religious discrimination rather than a much-called-for body to clean up corruption is very telling. The PM has a lot of religion and not a lot of integrity.

“After 1000 days of delay and excuses, it’s perfectly clear the PM never really wanted to introduce a corruption watchdog, probably because more than half of his Cabinet would be facing serious questions about their integrity.

“This is the dodgiest, most secretive and most incompetent government in Australian history. 

“The Greens bill for a strong, independent corruption watchdog with teeth passed the Senate two years ago. The PM has been running scared from it ever since. If the PM had any integrity at all, he would bring my bill on for debate and vote in the House, and we could have an effective federal corruption watchdog by Christmas.

“Far from being an ICAC-lite like the government’s phantom proposal, our bill would establish a strong, independent, effective body that allows for public hearings, retrospectivity and the ability to investigate anonymous tip-offs, balanced with appropriate safeguards and privacy provisions. It got top marks from the Centre for Public Integrity in a comparison of the various models. The PM should stop the charade of excuses and bring it on for debate.”

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