Do we need a federal anti-corruption commission?

November 01, 2018

Crossbench MPs Kerryn Phelps, Cathy McGowan, Adam Bandt, Rebekah Sharkie and Andrew Wilkie have warned the government they will use their balance of power in the lower house of federal parliament to push for a federal anti-corruption commission.

Conservative Party leader Cory Bernardi says he's seen no evidence of corruption amongst federal MPs.

The Guardian reports, on Sunday, Centre Alliance MP Rebekha Sharkie told ABC’s Insiders that “nobody should be above the law”, appearing to agree that an anti-corruption commission should be established.

The warnings comes as MP Cathy McGowan has given notice of a bill to establish a national integrity commission and attorney general Christian Porter opened the door to discussing “all options” with the crossbench.

The Coalition government has never ruled out a push from Labor to establish an anti-corruption commission, but Porter has given a strong indication the government opposes the idea, saying there is no “persuasive evidence” that current methods of tackling corruption are insufficient.

Independent Kerryn Phelps’ win in the Wentworth by-election saw the government lose its majority in the lower house.

MP Andrew Wilkie told Insiders on Sunday that in the new hung parliament all six crossbench MPs “understand the need for an integrity commission or [independent commission against corruption], or something like that”.

The Greens have had a bill before parliament since 2010 to establish a national integrity commission.

On Thursday Greens MP Adam Bandt predicted that Australia could have a new federal anti-corruption watchdog “by Christmas”, suggesting it was supported by majorities in both houses. Phelps agreed it was “very achievable”.

Senator Bernardi has told Paul Murray Live on Sky News while the parliamentary process is adversarial, there doesn't appear to be any real evidence of corruption in Canberra that he's encountered.

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