Thursday 13th August 2015 - 11:50 am

A Federal ICAC? sounds like a good idea

by Alan Thornhill

Could all that trouble over Bronwyn Bishop’s expenses have been avoided, if the Commonwealth had something like ICAC?

That is the Independent Commission Against Corruption that operates – so effectively – in New South Wales.

Has that thought occurred to you?

If so, you are not alone.

Especially as so many clearly questionable expense claims have – and still are – emerging in the slip-stream of the former speaker’s $5,200 helicopter flight from Melbourne to Geelong.

Just to attend a Liberal party fund raiser.

The Greens have been thinking in much the same way.

And this morning they revived debate in the Senate on a bill, designed to set all that right.

First introduced in 2013, the National Integrity Commission Bill was meant to establish a National Integrity Commission with three separate integrity officers.

These were to have been:-

* a National Integrity Commissioner

* a Law Enforcement Integrity Commissioner and

* an Independent Parliamentary Advisor.

But debate languished – and those posts were never established.

In a statement today the Greens said “the Libs, Nats and Labor had all failed to declare their position on the Bill when we brought it forward last year.”

Instead they had joined forces to prevent a vote taking place.

But the debate was brought on, once again, in the Senate early today.

Stay tuned.

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Alan Thornhill

Alan Thornhill is a parliamentary press gallery journalist.
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