Work Promises Federal ICAC After Michaelia Cash Shelves Pledge

Labor leader Anthony Albanese will head into the election telling voters the only way to ensure integrity in politics is to elect a new government after Attorney General Michaelia Cash shelved a promise made three years ago years of creating a federal anti-corruption commission.

Stepping up an attack on competence and integrity, Labor has claimed the government’s decision meant Prime Minister Scott Morrison ‘was not to be trusted’ because he had promised to set up a national combat agency against corruption in December 2018 and failed to deliver on his promises for a full term.

Shadow Attorney General Mark Dreyfus, left, with Labor leader Anthony Albanese, said Michaelia Cash’s announcement was a broken election promise.Credit:Alex Ellinghausen

The government last year published a bill to create a Commonwealth Integrity Commission but never brought it to parliament amid fierce criticism from legal experts, anti-corruption campaigners, Labour, Greens and Independent MPs.

“It’s a real proposal with real resources, real teeth,” Mr Morrison said in December 2018 when he announced the policy, which had been considered by the federal cabinet under his predecessor Malcolm Turnbull.

Senator Cash said The Australian Financial Review that other bills, such as the Religious Discrimination Bill, would take precedence and that the Integrity Commission would not be decided by Parliament before the election because Labor would not accept the model governmental.


“The Labor Party wants a political witch hunt with show trials,” Senator Cash said.

The government has proposed a commission with two divisions – one for civil servants and one for politicians – with no public hearings for investigations into politicians and no ability for the commission to launch its own inquiries or act on anonymous information from the public .

Labor promises a National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) with the power to hold public hearings and the ability to publish findings of fact and findings of corrupt conduct in public reports.

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