Cathy McGowan wants federal MPs to be brave enough to support a commission designed to crackdown on integrity and corruption.
The Indi MP led the group of crossbenchers in Parliament yesterday in introducing the proposed National Integrity Commission Bill.
She said the aim was to create a “culture of integrity” and prevent corruption so “all of us are our best selves”.
The proposed bill would grant powers of a royal commission to investigate corruption, at the discretion of the appointed commissioner.
“The intent is to create a nationally-coordinated integrity framework with an emphasis on prevention, supported by strong powers of intervention to enable criminal charges or other actions in response to cases of corruption,” Ms McGowan said.
Speaking to media outside Parliament, she said she would like to see a bipartisan bill get passed before the 2019 election.
“I have got some sense that some people think it’s really important, but are they brave enough to step forward? I don’t know,” she said.
“If you’re a person of integrity, you speak to your heart and you speak to your truth and your actions match your words, so in Parliament today we’ve got a real chance for people to be people of integrity.”
Finance Minister Mathias Cormann said although there was a broad consensus across the Parliament on the need to fight corruption, he did not support Ms McGowan’s idea for a National Integrity Commission.
He said his concerns included the possibility that journalists would be forced to reveal their sources.
“With these sorts of proposals, the devil is always in the detail,” Senator Cormann said.
“But we should always be open to suggestions of how (preventing corruption) can be improved. We are concerned that the bill that has been put forward by crossbenchers, based apparently on work of The Australia Institute, is an overreach.”
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