Corruption watchdog top priority for Sharkie

15 May 2019

Federal Member for Mayo, Rebekha Sharkie, will reintroduce a Private Member’s Bill to establish a Federal corruption watchdog, if re-elected.

The Bill would mirror much of the National Integrity Commission legislation put forward late last year by the former Independent Member for Indi, Cathy McGowan, which was seconded by Rebekha.

“My Bill would seek to set up a Federal ICAC (Independent Commission Against Corruption) that actually does the job it sets out to do, not the watered down version put forward by the Coalition after pressure was applied by Cathy, myself and the rest of the crossbench,” Rebekha said.

“My proposed ICAC would be adequately resourced and it would have the power to self-initiate investigations into corruption without a Government Minister playing gatekeeper,” she said.

“An agency like this would have been able to look at matters such as the Murray Darling Watergate scandal and how Paladin Security could be handed a $423 million contract to run the detention centre on Manus Island under a restricted tender process.

“My Bill would also seek to establish an agency that could hold public hearings if the Commissioner felt it would be in the public interest.”

Rebekha welcomes the commitment from both of the major parties to create their version of a Federal corruption watchdog but she remains concerned that the models they might eventually put forward won’t have the powers and the resources to do the job the Australian public expects from such an agency.

“Since first being elected in 2016 I have been advocating for a Federal ICAC to uncover and fully investigate all credible allegations of corruption by senior public servants, parliamentarians and Ministers,” Rebekha said.

“Transparency and accountability are key principles of Centre Alliance and an ICAC for public officials complements the work we have done securing legislation in the last Parliament that protects whistleblowers in the corporate sector.”

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