The Green says revelations that community grants from the Building Better Regions Fund were disproportionately awarded to Coalition seats once again shows the urgent need for a federal corruption watchdog.
On Monday the Greens will lodge a concurrence motion in the Senate, which could ultimately force the House to vote on the Greens’ National Integrity Commission Bill, which passed the Senate more than two years ago.
Greens deputy leader and spokesperson on democracy Senator Larissa Waters said:
“Sportsrorts 1 & 2, carporks, now ‘building better rorts’ – another day, another rort. And still no federal corruption watchdog! Are there any buckets of public money this government hasn’t used for its own electoral gain?
“The Australian people are sick of waiting for this government to deliver on their 1000-day-old promise for a corruption watchdog – so I will move a motion to seek to force the government’s hand.
“Next week in parliament I will move a concurrence motion which, if passed in the Senate, would force the House to vote on whether to debate my National Integrity Commission Bill, which passed the Senate two years ago.
“The Government has already twice blocked the bill from even being debated and voted on in the House but the Greens have been pushing for a federal corruption watchdog for 11 years now and we won’t stop despite this government using every excuse in the book to block and delay.
“This is the dodgiest government in Australian history. If we had an effective federal anti-corruption body more than half of the Morrison Cabinet would be facing serious questions about their integrity.
“Morrison’s ICAC proposal is a fraud. Many of the misconduct scandals involving current and former Government MPs would not be caught by his toothless model. It wouldn’t hold public hearings nor be able to initiate investigations without a referral from the government.
“But parliament doesn’t need to keep waiting for the long-delayed and pathetically weak Morrison model – because the Senate has already passed the Greens’ National Integrity Bill, which got top marks last week from the Centre for Public Integrity in a comparison of the various models.
“Our bill would establish a strong, independent, effective body that allows for public hearings, retrospectivity and the ability to investigate anonymous tip-offs, balanced with appropriate safeguards and privacy provisions.
“It passed the Senate more than two years ago – the PM just needs to bring it on for debate in the House and the Australian people could have a federal anti-corruption body in place by Christmas. There’s no more time to waste.”