The Prime Minister’s statement that he is not yet fully persuaded on the need for a national corruption watchdog demonstrates Turnbull’s woeful lack of leadership on the critical issue of restoring people’s confidence in our democratic processes and public institutions, the Greens democracy spokesperson Senator Lee Rhiannon said.
“Four months after the Senate released its report on the merits of establishing a federal body to deal with corruption and integrity issues the best Mr Turnbull can come up with is that he is not yet fully persuaded,” Senator Rhiannon said.
“Kicking off the year with such a do-nothing response on corruption is pathetic.
“The Prime Minister made his remarks in response to a warning from former judge Stephen Charles that a federal body should not be modelled on Victoria’s anti-corruption watchdog.
“The Victorian Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission has limited ability to gather and retain evidence and to conduct public hearings.
“Mr Charles is a member of the Australia Institute's National Integrity Committee of corruption fighters and retired judges. They have released a very useful set of principles to advise decision makers on the best model for a federal anti-corruption watchdog.
“When the TAI report was released in November last year the Greens again called on Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten to back a national anti-corruption body.
“The need for a national institution to fight corruption has been further underlined by the admission from the Minerals Council of Australia that it donates money directly to political parties and for tickets to party fund raisers in order to meet and engage with MPs.
“If we had a national anti-corruption body they could investigate this ‘buying access to MPs’ that many corporations engage in.
“Since 2015 the MCA has donated more than $90,000 to political parties. Most of this money went to the Liberal and National parties and their associated entities.
“This information was revealed in submissions to a Senate inquiry into political donations initiated by Senator Richard Di Natale,” Senator Rhiannon said.