July 2, 2021

Helen Haines MP, Independent Federal Member for Indi has called on the new Nationals Ministers sworn in on Friday to begin their roles by committing to a strong, independent and effective integrity commission.

The swearing-in of the new ministers must mark the start of a new commitment to urgently legislate an integrity commission with broad jurisdiction, strong investigative powers and public hearings when it is in the public interest to do so.

“New Nationals Ministers will once again have wide discretion over large buckets of taxpayer money that should go where there is most need,” Dr Haines said.

“How can Australians trust that taxpayer money isn’t being rorted without a strong Federal Integrity Commission?”

The events of this week have shown once again a Federal Integrity Commission is long overdue, Dr Haines said.

“It is shameful that multiple decisions on funding for commuter carparks were made by press release, with absolutely no input from the relevant department,” she said.

“From sports rorts to car parks, Australians have had enough.

“On the 8th of September it will be 1,000 days since the Government committed to introduce a Federal Integrity Commission, but since then all we have seen is draft legislation that has been roundly criticised.

“The power to properly and independently investigate such decisions is contained in my Australian Federal Integrity Commission proposal, but the Government’s plan fails to give Australians confidence that the government is being held to account.

“My Australian Federal Integrity Commission bill would create a robust commission with strong investigative powers. I know my bill has support from MPs from every party in Parliament.

“Every day without a robust federal integrity commission is day Australians lose trust in politicians. Integrity can’t wait. It’s time for the new Nationals Ministers to get on board with my bill for a strong, effective and independent Federal Integrity Commission.”

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