Monday, 18 October 2021
Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Amendment (Improved Grants Reporting) Bill 2021; Second Reading
In the few minutes I've got allocated to speak on the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Amendment (Improved Grants Reporting) Bill 2021, I want to list all the rorts that have happened. We've got sports rorts 1 and 2. We've got the Safer Communities Program rorts. We've got the 'pork and ride' rorts—the Urban Congestion Fund. We've got the Building Better Regions Fund rorts. I'm going to run out of time to list all these rorts. Are there any buckets of public money that this government won't use for its own electoral gain? There are so many examples of grants being awarded contrary to selection criteria or merit, and, as we head into the election, I have no doubt that we will see more from this government. This is a government that feels entirely comfortable using public money to feather its own electoral nest.
We've got some Commonwealth grant guidelines. They require disclosures to be made to the finance minister, but that's where they stop. That's why last year, in May, the Greens moved an order of continuing effect, which passed, that made that information public, to try to reveal that these rorts are happening and to not let the government keep it all under wraps. This bill builds on that, and we support it. But it's not enough just to stop the rorts; we need a strong federal corruption watchdog. We've been waiting 1,000 days for this government to get on with the job. My bill passed the Senate two years ago, and it has been languishing in the House for all that time. I'll be moving again this week to force the government to bring that bill on in the House. The Australian public are fed up with the rorting and fed up with the corruption. They deserve better.