HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 19 OCTOBER 2020
Under the Morrison government we've had sports rorts, 'Watergate', Jam Land and Paladin. We've had the 'big stack' with over 60 former Liberal staffers, ministers, candidates and donors appointed to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.
The Federal Police want to know why taxpayers paid a Liberal donor 10 times as much as the land was worth, and all Australians want to know why Stuart Robert and Angus Taylor are still ministers.
Yet, rather than cracking down on rorts, the Morrison government is cracking down on the Auditor-General. After his office revealed sports rorts and air rorts, the Auditor-General asked for a $6 million funding boost. Instead, the coalition's budget cut the Audit Office by $1 million, and that'll mean one-fifth fewer performance audits. Meanwhile, the government's budget contained over $4 billion of new slush funds.
If there is one thing they're more excited by than rorts, it's cover-ups. When Labor proposed a federal ICAC, the Prime Minister called it ‘a fringe issue’. Finally, at the end of 2018, he promised legislation on an integrity commission within 12 months. It's nearly a year on from that and there's still nothing.
The Morrison government's preferred model is nothing like the New South Wales ICAC that held Premier Berejiklian to account. It wouldn't allow a federal ICAC to initiate its own inquiries, conduct surveillance or make findings of corruption. It wouldn't be a watchdog; it would be a gummy shark.
Authorised by Paul Erickson, ALP, Canberra