Pauline Hanson supports the government in blocking the bill on the Federal Integrity Commission

The federal government has narrowly defeated an attempt by the Senate cross-bench, the Greens and Labor to kick-start a debate on a national integrity commission.

Complicated voting rules in the Senate, forced by the absence of some senators due to COVID-19 restrictions, resulted in a tie on the proposal from 25 to 25.

Despite not being present in the hall, One Nation took the side of the government, moved the numbers on the floor and eventually defeated the proposal.

The coalition has been heavily criticized for not presenting its proposal to parliament when it was first marked by Prime Minister Scott Morrison in late 2018.

South Australia’s independent senator Rex Patrick tried to suspend the upper house’s business on Tuesday afternoon to launch the debate on the bill on the Transversal Integrity Commission.

Parliament is still waiting to see the revised model by Advocate General Michaelia Cash.

“They gave it as a promise when they went into the last election.

“You get to a point where you say, ‘Sorry, you can’t make us wait any longer.'”

One Nation leader Senator Pauline Hanson smiles at a media conference.
Pauline Hanson voted with the government against the proposal.(AAP: Mick Tsikas)

Former Justice Minister Christian Porter’s model, unveiled in 2018, was branded as top secret and lacks the strong investigative powers needed to eradicate corruption.

Labor supported Senator Patrick’s attempt to force the issue on the agenda, arguing that the Senate needed to “take responsibility” for the debate given the coalition’s delays in introducing its proposal.

“This eight-year-old, tired government – there are plenty of reasons why they do not want to get into a debate about a national anti-corruption body today, or any day leading up to the next election,” Shadow Finance Minister Katy Gallagher told the floor.

“It is because of the litany of scandals, riots, waste and mismanagement that this government has presided over and it would make them vulnerable.

“1,077 days ago, this Prime Minister – and we know he’s not very good at telling the truth – promised to put one in place, and we’re still waiting.”

The Greens have long fought for an anti-corruption commission and claim that the coalition has kicked the issue down the road.

“Consultation after consultation, which continues to be ignored and they still have a weak, pathetic body that has been criticized by experts for acting as a safeguard for their own MPs rather than a watchdog to clean up politics and to really deter corruption. ” It said the leader of the Green Senate, Larissa Waters.

“I looked at the numbers, half the government has been involved in an integrity scandal in recent years.

“It’s no wonder the government does not want to pass a bill for a corruption watchdog – they would lose half of their cabinet.”

Larissa Waters looks ahead while she's at a press conference inside
Green Senator Larissa Waters voted in favor of Senator Patrick’s proposal.(ABC News: Matt Roberts)

Tasmanian independent senator Jacqui Lambie addressed the government’s delays in his unique style and told the House of Lords that a child born when the coalition first committed to a national integrity commission would now be nearly three years old.

“She’s learned to crawl, to get up, to walk, she’s pretty much getting ready for kindergarten now, and she’s probably learning to count,” she

“You know what, that baby has made more progress in 1,000 days than the Liberals have at their own expense. Shameful, shameful!”

Opponents accused of distorting reality

The head of the Senate government, Simon Birmingham, accused the coalition’s political opponents of distorting reality.

“It often seems that when the opposite and those across the bench talk about matters related to a proposed Commonwealth Integrity Commission, or other names that others seek to give such entities, that they do so with some faith in “that there is a void that exists. in terms of accountability, in process, in oversight,” he said.

“That is clearly not the case.

“We will not suggest that we simply adopt – as Senator Patrick’s proposal seeks to do – within an hour and a half a model that has not been subject to the same type of rigor, thoroughness and analysis that the Attorney General has worked through.”

By defeated the proposal, parliamentary debate on an integrity commission may not take place until after the next election.

If the prime minister calls an election in March next year, MPs and senators will not return to Canberra until they strike.

Senator Patrick is seeking re-election and running as an independent after breaking out of the Center Alliance party in southern Australia.


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