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Three years of broken promises on corruption

Yesterday marked the third anniversary of Scott Morrison’s 2019 election promise to establish a national anti-corruption commission. But there is still no anti-corruption commission!

14 December 2021

ALAN HAYES

 

THE Grapevine has previously reported on Scott Morrison’s refusal to introduce legislation to establish a Federal ICAC and his three years of broken promises on corruption.

 

On 13 December 2018, Scott Morrison and his former Attorney-General Christian Porter stood before the Australian people and promised ‘a robust, resourced, real system that will protect the integrity of Commonwealth and public administration’.

 

Yesterday, three years later, nothing has happened. To this day, Scott Morrison has still not even brought a bill before the Parliament.

 

Yet, earlier this month, in question time, Scotty 'Never-Tell-a-Lie' was full of bravado when Labor asked him what was stopping him creating the national integrity commission he promised in December 2018 with an election pledge to crack down on corruption in politics.

 

True to form, the Prime Minister's answer was all about finding someone else to blame for that broken promise. He brandished a document to show he had a proposal for a commission, said he was willing to spend $150 million and claimed the only reason it did not exist was because Labor did not like his idea. “We have done the work to ensure that an effective integrity commission can be implemented in this country,” he said.

 

Done the work? Another Morrison lie. The document Scotty 'Never-Tell-a-Lie' was waving around in his hand was no different to the  one his government previously released in November 2020 to prompt submissions from experts. The document that Morison was flaunting was proof that nothing had been done for a full year.

 

That draft plan has already been damned by most experts. Police reject it because it sets up two standards – a tough one for them and a soft one for ministers, and former judges dismiss it as the “weakest watchdog” compared with state integrity agencies.

 

University of Sydney law professor Anne Twomey, who called it “absurdly long” and deliberately written to spare politicians, said, “The bill is drafted in such a way that it does not actually deal with most corruption.”

 

So, instead of a Federal anti-corruption watchdog we see Scott Morrison making yet another pastor's decision. And while Scotty 'Never-Tell-a-Lie' twiddles his thumbs all we see is scandal after scandal going unchecked, rort after rort being exposed, endless excuses and a weak, pathetic, desultory ‘exposure draft’, which was so bad, the Centre for Public Integrity said that if it ever became law it would be “the weakest watchdog in the country”.

 

This is a Government that lives in fear of accountability and what a powerful, independent, and transparent anti-corruption commission would reveal.

 

Australians must have trust in their democracy and a federal anti-corruption commission is an important part of that trust. And it is abundantly clear that Australians want a national anti-corruption commission, yet Australians have a government that refuse to implement it.

 

The question is, WHY? What does Scott Morrison and his political cohorts have to worry about?

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