Senate debates

Wednesday, 4 August 2021


National Anti-Corruption Commission

1:48 pm

Photo of Rex PatrickRex Patrick (SA, Independent) Share this | | Hansard source

I rise to speak briefly on the need for a federal anti-corruption commission. This is a major concern for Independents in both houses. The Independents continue to keep this issue at the forefront of federal politics through this parliament. Labor has committed to establish a national anti-corruption commission if they are elected to government and to advancing proposals to improve governance and transparency in federal grants programs. As for the coalition government, they really are a lost cause as far as the question of integrity is concerned. They have deliberately dragged their feet to make sure a federal ICAC will not be operating during this parliament. The former Attorney-General, Christian Porter, bears a lot of responsibility for this, but ultimately it is the Prime Minister who must be held to account.

Why hasn't the government expedited a national anti-corruption commission? The answer is simple. They are politically corrupt. From sports rorts to the pork-barrel car-park grants scheme, from dodgy water purchases to politically directed community safety projects, we have seen integrity standards plummet. The Prime Minister is no doubt focused on a new round of pork-barrelling for the next election. Of course, Labor, notwithstanding recent good intentions, has plenty of form at both a state and a federal level. After all, the first sports rorts were from Labor minister Ros Kelly and her infamous whiteboard. Whatever the results of the election, the Independents will have to continue to do a lot of hard work in this area.