The fight for a robust federal integrity commission took an important step on Wednesday, with Senator Rex Patrick partnering with Independent Federal Member for Indi Helen Haines to introduce a Bill to create the Australian Federal Integrity Commission to the Senate.
“I have teamed up with Senator Patrick, a champion for integrity and transparency in politics, because Australia needs a federal integrity commission and we won’t wait on the government any longer,” Dr Haines said.
“I am confident this Bill will pass the Senate. Labor has said they support it and the crossbench like what they see. There are even Coalition backbenchers who support my model and have publicly said the Government should work with the crossbench on this.”
Dr Haines will also re-introduce the Bill to the House of Representatives next week, increasing pressure on the Government to act on a federal integrity commission that is so urgently needed.
“The Government is being pincered now in both Houses and we know they are feeling the pressure – today it was reported that the Attorney General is ‘refining’ their draft model,” Dr Haines said.
“The problem is, their model is so broken it can’t be fixed. The Centre for Public Integrity has labelled the Government’s model ‘Australia’s weakest watchdog’. The same analysis rated my Australian Federal Integrity Commission the best of the bunch.”
It is more than 1000 days since the Government promised a federal integrity commission would be delivered before the next election.
“I met with Prime Minister Scott Morrison today and told him I plan on introducing my Bill again next week. I asked for time to debate my Bill, giving him yet another chance to work with me toward a better standard of politics in this country. He refused point blank, saying the Government was sticking with their model. A federal integrity commission is now a broken election promise.”