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Monday, 26 November 2018
Page: 11335

Mr BANDT (Melbourne) (12:12): I second this motion. We are now in a power-sharing minority parliament, and the good thing about that is that things can get done that the Australian people want. Things will be put on the agenda even if the government doesn't want them. Even if the government doesn't want them, things will get put on the agenda that the Australian people want. If we act now, we could have a national corruption watchdog by Christmas. The Greens worked with Labor and the other members of the crossbench in the Senate to get this motion through the Senate. The Senate has expressed its view, on behalf of the Australian people, that it wants a federal anticorruption watchdog established.

The House is now about to concur—I hope that the House is about to concur—and I hope the government has finally understood the message. When you have people with such diverse positions on the crossbench—me, the member for Kennedy, the member for Denison, the new member for Wentworth, the member for Mayo and, of course the member for Indi—together with the Labor opposition all saying it is time to establish a national anticorruption watchdog, the message is now ringing loud and clear.

This is something that is close to my heart and close to the heart of the Greens. We were the first ones to introduce a bill into this parliament and also into this House. I applaud the member for Indi and the member for Mayo for now bringing forward a practical way of putting it into practice. Having listened to the comments from the experts, they've put a workable model on the table. We now have an opportunity to restore some trust in the political system.

The idea that somehow corruption stops at the federal level and can only be found at the state level is just fanciful. The argument from the government so far has been: there's no evidence of corruption; therefore, we don't need an anticorruption watchdog. That's exactly why we need one. Seriously, can anyone say, hand on heart, that none of the activity we've seen at the New South Wales level, which has resulted in ministers going to jail, happens here? No, we cannot. The best thing to do is not only to have a transparent and corruption-free democracy but to be seen to have a transparent and corruption-free democracy.

In commending this motion to the House, I'll say one last thing. We established the royal commission into the banks by working together in the Senate, bringing the matter to the House and bringing the government to the point where they had to accept it, where they could not deny the inevitable any longer. In exactly the same way as we've managed to get the government to establish—against their will, kicking and screaming—a royal commission into the banks, I hope that the government will now see the light and take steps towards establishing a federal anticorruption commission, which the people of Australia so desperately want.