Wednesday, 16 February 2022
Commonwealth Integrity Commission
In the interest of continuing, I will withdraw. Unbelievable! That's your ruling, Mr Speaker; we will abide by it. This government has rorted billions of dollars. They treat taxpayer dollars as if they were Liberal Party dollars—as the Auditor-General shows year after year—shovelling taxpayer money to marginal seats. You know it; it's what happens. That's what they do. They treat the AAT as an employee agency for Liberal mates. They stack government boards with failed Liberal politicians. We found out in the audit committee that the national housing, financing and infrastructure board doesn't have a single person now with any expertise in social or affordable housing; all the blokes are retired Liberal politicians.
Apparently it's okay for the member for Pearce to accept $1 million in secret donations. Under this government, it is okay for members of parliament to take bags of cash left outside their door and not declare where they came from. The Prime Minister has broken his promise to introduce an ICAC. And his excuse? He blames Labor. He says it's Labor's fault. Somehow it's our fault.
Thank you Mr Speaker, yes, a point of order. He is reflecting on members. No members have taken bags of cash left outside their offices. He is wrong and he should withdraw.
He blames Labor for their own failure to introduce a bill and debate it in his House. It is truly bizarre. He did propose a weak model. It's not a big stick; it's like being whacked with a little bit of balsawood or beaten with wet lettuce. He then blames New South Wales for having an ICAC with teeth. His so-called good friend Gladys Berejiklian was hauled before ICAC, which scared off the government. That's the same Gladys Berejiklian who called him a horrible, horrible person and a complete psycho. Then his latest excuse is that there's no time. Well, the parliament last week sat till 5 am. He has a record low number of sitting days. Here's a tip for the Prime Minister: you could schedule more sitting days and have a debate on a national anticorruption commission. Bring it on. He won't even have the debate. He's scared because the parliament may impose a model with teeth.
We saw the report of the cabinet leak last week. Astoundingly, the Prime Minister was trying to get the votes for his flawed, divisive Religious Discrimination Bill to divide the nation. He was trying to trade votes for that by promising a debate on a corruption commission. There's no sense of irony on that, is there? He was trading votes for a debate on a corruption commission while trying to get something else through the parliament. But then he was rolled in the cabinet, because—get this, and let this sink in—the cabinet, the most senior ministers in the government of Australia, were scared that there might be a corruption commission with retrospective powers that might investigate their own time in office. That's exactly what the media report said. Australians know that the Prime Minister has no intention of introducing an ICAC. He's a cunning politician, but he is not a leader.
It's not just a matter for the government and the Liberals, sadly; it's a matter for the nation. It impacts our global standing in the global rankings of corruption. Australia has become more corrupt after a decade of the Liberals. In 2012, when Labor was in office, we ranked seventh out of all the countries in the world on Transparency International's Corruption Perceptions Index. We could do better, but that was not bad—top 10. In January this year, last month, we saw the worst score that Australia has ever recorded: we've fallen to 18th globally. The reason for the drop is the Prime Minister's failure to establish a federal anticorruption commission, after a decade in office. This bloke has lost touch. He's lost trust. He's now lost Tudge. He's out of ideas, out of time and out of office. I seek leave to table this graphical illustration of the Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index showing the fall of Australia under this Prime Minister.
Leave not granted.
It is a fact. Anyone in the country can look at how the world has ranked us. We've fallen down. We've become a more corrupt country under this failing, rotten government. (Time expired)