November 25, 2021
The majority of MPs in the House of Representatives voted in favour of debating a federal integrity commission, but the motion was only lost on a technicality in the standing orders, said Independent Federal Member for Indi Helen Haines.
“Today in the House of Representatives 66 members of integrity, of conviction, voted in favour of debating my bill for the Australian Federal Integrity Commission. That is more than voted against it,” Dr Haines said.
“It is only because of a technicality in the standing orders that calls for an absolute majority that it was lost. This section of the standing orders is undemocratic during the pandemic and should be changed.”
Dr Haines said it was now obvious it was the will of the Parliament that her bill for an Australian Federal Integrity Commission be debated and every day the Prime Minister delays, is a day standing in the way of the Australian people and the Australian Parliament.
“We have waited too long for a federal integrity commission and we can’t wait any longer. The Government must allow my bill for an Australian Federal Integrity Commission to be debated and I am confident it will pass.”
Dr Haines praised the Member for Bass Bridget Archer for showing the courage to live her belief in the need for a federal integrity commission by crossing the floor to call for debate on the Australian Federal Integrity Commission Bill.
On Thursday Ms Archer voted with Dr Haines, the whole crossbench, Labor and the Greens to suspend standing orders to allow the bill for a robust integrity commission to be debated.
Dr Haines said Ms Archer was a true Liberal and had voted with the courage of her convictions.
“The Member for Bass has shown what integrity really is. She has long spoken about the need for a robust federal integrity commission. She acted on that today,” Dr Haines said.
“This should come as no surprise to the Government, if they had been paying attention to the many Government backbenchers who have been pushing for progress on a robust integrity commission they would have seen it coming.”
Dr Haines has been working on the Australian Federal Integrity Commission Bill for the whole term of Parliament, with legal experts to ensure it is developed correctly and across political lines to ensure it had true consensus.
“We have waited too long for an integrity commission. I have watched scandal after scandal go uninvestigated, with no independent watchdog on the beat,” Dr Haines said.
“Each day that we delay is another day of deterioration of trust in this place, and among the Australian people. Each day, it becomes harder to claw back that trust.”
Dr Haines said the government was not serious about an integrity commission, having dragged their feet for almost three years since first promising to set up such a body.
“It’s clear the Government is ignoring the will of the people. And now, it’s obstructing the will of the Parliament,” Dr Haines said.
“It has broken the promise it made almost three years ago. We are entitled to ask whether the Prime Minister honestly, in his heart, wants a robust integrity commission.”