Along with more aggressive tactics to tackle climate change, pushing for a national anti-corruption commission has been another central part of the Climate 200 independents’ campaign to lure voters away from the incumbents.
The creation of a commission was a key promise of the Morrison government during the 2019 election campaign, but there is still no such federal body to oversee political integrity.
In today’s Kooyong debate between Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and independent challenger Monique Ryan, Frydenberg took the opportunity to take a look at the model for a national anti-corruption body proposed by the independent Helen Haines.
“It’s really only important for politicians in particular, but [also for] others in the public arena, that we are not presumed guilty until proven innocent, and that is ultimately what would happen with public hearings and public remands,” he said. he declares.
Frydenberg said politicians brought before a public hearing and then cleared would be unnecessarily thrown into the public spotlight.
“[Being publicly exonerated] will be cold comfort for a politician who has been hounded by his electorate and, perhaps in some cases, forced to resign,” he said.
“So in practice I’m all for a Commonwealth Integrity Commission, but it has to be the right model. And the one that makes sure it’s the courts because we all sign up for the court process. It is the courts, which are the final arbiter of guilt,” he said.
In response, Ryan claimed the government was dithering on a national anti-corruption body modeled on the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption because it had something to hide.
“To say that there is some commitment to this is patently false. Prime Minister Morrison told us earlier this week that he did not believe we needed an ICAC,” she said.
“I think the reason this government thinks we don’t need an ICAC is because they know what we’re going to find. If we look at JobKeeper, [it cost] $88 billion. We were the only country in the developed world to have a stimulus package like this that had no transparency on where the money was going.