Today marks three years since Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the government would implement a federal integrity commission, yet Australians are still waiting for a watchdog to clean up federal politics.
Independent Federal Member for Indi Helen Haines said the government had broken its promise to Australians, and the lack of action over the past three years showed there was no real commitment to addressing corruption at the federal level.
“In the past three years, my Bill for an Australian Federal Integrity Commission has made significantly more progress than the government’s proposal, and I have worked to ensure it has support across the political spectrum,” Dr Haines said.
Since being elected in 2019, Dr Haines has:
- Worked with constituents to develop the ‘Beechworth Principles’, a set of principles to guide a robust federal integrity commission
- Delivered a petition to Parliament, calling for legislation that meets those principles
- Worked with experts to develop a Bill for the Australian Federal Integrity Commission, with robust powers and appropriate safeguards
- Introduced the Bill for the Australian Federal Integrity Commission into the House of Representatives in October 2020
- Delivered a letter signed by 59 prominent judges, lawyers, experts and leaders calling for the government to establish a robust integrity commission to Prime Minister Scott Morrison
- Worked with Senator Rex Patrick to introduce the Bill for the Australian Federal Integrity Commission into the Senate in October 2021
- Re-introduced the Bill for an Australian Federal Integrity Commission into the House of Representatives in October 2021
- Moved to suspend standing orders in the House of Representatives to debate the AFIC Bill in November, with the motion seconded by government backbencher Bridget Archer. While the majority of MPs present in the House voted in favour of the motion, it was defeated on a technicality.
- Worked with MPs from all sides to find common ground and progress on integrity, including Government backbencher John Alexander who spoke in the House of Representatives about the need for collaboration on integrity on the last sitting day of 2021.
“That’s what you do when you really believe in something – you do the work. I have worked collaboratively with MPs from all parties, I have met with two Attorneys General, I have consulted with the community and the experts. That’s what commitment to integrity looks like,” Dr Haines said.
“All we have seen from the government is an exposure draft that has been roundly criticised, followed by months of consultation that led to no changes.
“In recent weeks Mr Morrison has showed his true colours on an integrity commission – we know he truly doesn’t believe politicians should be held to account for their actions. Can we really trust him to implement a robust federal integrity commission?
“I know Australians are fed up with the state of federal politics, with seemingly never-ending scandals and rorts, followed by excuses and cover ups. That is why I am committed to working for a federal integrity commission, because we all deserve better from politicians.
“I won’t stop working until there is a real federal watchdog, with teeth, holding politicians to account.”