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PM’s COAG bill a slippery slope to increased executive power

Media Release
Larissa Waters 27 Sep 2021

The Greens say evidence presented at today’s inquiry into the government’s COAG Legislation Amendment Bill shows just how far the PM has strayed from legal, constitutional and democratic norms.

Greens deputy leader and spokesperson on democracy Senator Larissa Waters said:
“After today’s hearing no one can be left in any doubt about just how anti-democratic and dangerous the government's attempt to shield National Cabinet from scrutiny really is.

“All the expert witnesses agree that this Bill would undermine the rule of law, increase secrecy, erode accountability and open the door to increased executive powers. That should be something that worries all Australians.

“The Morrison Government is the most secretive government in history. They eagerly relied on cabinet secrecy to hide information about Covid decisions, the ‘gas-led recovery’ and the women’s safety taskforce.

“This Bill is a blatant attempt to prevent proper scrutiny of the government’s abysmal vaccination rollout, its shambles of a national quarantine program, and its pandering to fossil fuel donors.

“The government has offered no compelling policy rationale for a Bill that offers complete, unfettered secrecy to a wide range of decisions affecting us all. It is impossible to reconcile this Bill with the PM’s statements on the international stage about Australia’s commitment to open government.

“As the President of the Australian Human Rights Commission said today, this Bill gets the balance wrong. Trust in government is vital, particularly in emergency situations, yet this government seems determined to undermine public trust at every turn.

“The PM continues to do all he can to duck transparency and accountability. His war on transparency and accountability has to end.

"The Greens will be voting against this Bill and we urge Labor to join us."

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