Senate debates

Thursday, 25 November 2021


Morrison Government

1:53 pm

Photo of Larissa WatersLarissa Waters (Queensland, Australian Greens) Share this | | Hansard source

Every new survey shows that trust in government and in democracy is plummeting. Time is running out to restore public confidence in democracy in this country. Yet, once again, today we saw this government block efforts to establish a national integrity commission. This government is the most secretive in history. It is a government that is allergic to transparency, terrified of scrutiny and desperate to keep its dirty deals and self-interested decisions hidden from voters.

It attacks anyone who tries to lift the curtain. Charities and NGOs have helped people in Australia throughout COVID. They've supported those affected by devastating floods and fires. They're helping Afghan refugees rebuild their lives. They're calling for systemic changes to improve people's lives and livelihoods. The government is pushing through laws to make it harder for charities to advocate for change. Environmental and climate groups are crying out for action on the climate crisis. This government calls them 'vandals', tells the children of Australia that it doesn't owe them a duty of care and continues to meet with its fossil fuel donors behind closed doors. The government accepts millions in undisclosed donations to secure fuel its re-election and to secure cushy post-parliament jobs, but it refuses to fix donation laws.

Terrified that people are crying out for a change of leadership, the Morrison-Joyce government pushed through laws to make it harder to set up new political parties, and they're making it harder now for vulnerable people to vote—suppress the vote, silence charities and stop candidates. Journalists are threatened with defamation and ministers sue citizens, and the ABC and SBS have their funding cut. If this government doesn't like what you say, it will silence you—unless, of course, you're a religious institution. And it will not, under any circumstances, let us debate having a strong national integrity commission. It is terrified of an ICAC, because we all know it will reveal how corrupt it is.