Monday, 15 June 2020
National Integrity Commission Bill 2018 (No. 2)
That the Senate—
(a) notes that:
(i) the Senate passed the Australian Greens' National Integrity Commission Bill 2018 (No. 2) on 9 September 2019 to establish a federal corruption watchdog with broad remit to investigate allegations of corruption and misconduct, and to ensure strong, independent oversight of the actions of parliamentarians,
(ii) the National Integrity Commission Bill 2018 (No. 2) was sent to the House of Representatives for debate on 10 September 2019, but has yet to be debated,
(iii) on 10 February 2020, the Senate resolved to call on the House to vote on the National Integrity Commission Bill 2018 (No. 2),
(iv) the Government ignored this call and has prevented all attempts to debate and vote on the National Integrity Commission Bill 2018 (No. 2) in the House,
(v) public consultation on the Commonwealth Integrity Commission model proposed by the Government ended nearly eighteen months ago, but the Government has yet to introduce legislation to establish an integrity commission,
(vi) in May 2020, the Attorney-General said that legislation to establish a Commonwealth Integrity Commission would be further delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, despite an exposure draft being "ready for release", and
(vii) polls consistently show that the majority of Australians support the establishment of a strong national integrity body;
(b) calls on the Federal Government to bring on the National Integrity Commission Bill 2018 (No. 2) in the House of Representatives for a vote in the June 2020 sittings; and
(c) transmits this resolution to the House of Representatives for concurrence.
The Morrison government is committed to establishing a Commonwealth integrity commission to enhance accountability across the public sector. Exposure draft legislation was ready for release, to allow for consultation ahead of its introduction into parliament, before the global economic and health crises caused by the COVID-19 outbreak. Obviously, in recent months the government's focus has been to keep Australians safe and provide the support needed to help businesses and to protect jobs. The Greens' National Integrity Commission Bill 2018 (No. 2) has fundamental flaws that could result in wasteful duplication and individual injustices. The bill was not supported by the Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee when it considered the bill in April last year. The government remains committed to establishing the CIC and will progress with the next steps of the release of draft legislation at an appropriate time, after more immediate priorities concerning to management of the COVID recovery have been dealt with.