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20 October 2021

Independent Senator Rex Patrick will today introduce into the Senate the Australian Federal Integrity Commission Bill 2020 proposed by the Independent Member for Indi, Dr Helen Haines. 

“I am very pleased to be part of the campaign for a Federal Integrity Commission by introducing Dr Haines’ Bill into the Senate,” Senator Patrick said. 

“Helen is a tireless champion of this cause, and it is independent members of the Federal Parliament who have been leading the push for a Federal Integrity Commission with real teeth, able to root out corruption and misconduct at all levels of the Australian Government.”

“We need a strong anti-corruption body, with the investigatory powers of a standing Royal Commission coupled with proper safeguards to ensure due process and accountability. This Bill delivers on those requirements.” 

“The proposed Australian Federal Integrity Commission has the backing of eminent legal and anti-corruption experts around the country, but Prime Minister Scott Morrison hasn’t wanted to debate it. Indeed he’s dragged the chain on this issue from the very beginning. His Government have long stalled and delayed on their own proposal, which is quite unfit for the task.”

"It's interesting that those in power are the most aggrieved at the idea of a strong corruption watchdog."

“Whether it’s Sports rorts, Car Park rorts, dodgy water purchases, jobs for the boys, JobKeeper rorts – the Government’s track record on integrity is a disgrace. They have undermined public confidence in politicians and officials.”

“There's a huge task ahead to clean up Australian politics. Getting a Federal Integrity Commission, implementing a strong Parliamentary code of conduct and enforcing full disclosure of MPs interests, improving transparency and government accountability, and stopping political rorting of grants programs are all urgent matters needed to restore the health of our democracy. Independents will have to keep the bastards honest whichever side wins the election.”

“I’m committed to working with my crossbench colleagues and party leaders to legislate an Australian Integrity Commission. Federal politicians, their staff and public servants should all be subject to appropriate scrutiny by a properly empowered and resourced integrity agency.” 

"I will bring this bill to a vote in the next sitting period."

“There is no reason we cannot legislate a Federal Integrity Commission with full powers by the end of this Parliament. We can’t wait on the Government any more. 

"The Prime Minister needs to get out of the way and accept that times are a-changin’.”