November 10, 2011  |  Second Reading

Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission Bill 2011

I am pleased to continue my contribution on the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission Bill 2011, which, as we know, is not introducing an independent body. This is not a bill which talks about integrity and accountability; this is a zombie stripped bare of accountability, stripped bare of transparency. This is just a husk of a bill that is tied to the appointment by the Premier of the Commissioner of the IBAC (Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission). That is what this is about — the appointment of the Commissioner of the IBAC being countersigned by the Premier.

As the Deputy Premier departs crab-like from the chamber, he knows that he is being held accountable by the Office of Police Integrity for his decision to interfere in the appointment of public officials like former Chief Commissioner of Police, Simon Overland. That is what this government is about. When it comes to appointing the Commissioner of the IBAC under clause 14 of this bill, that person should be appointed by this Parliament; they should be appointed by this house. But they will not be. They will be appointed by the Premier, the Liberal leader. Which eminent Victorian with any integrity is going to accept an appointment as the Commissioner of the IBAC to look into corruption of this government when their appointment relies solely and utterly on the Premier of the day? Their five-year appointment will be made by the Liberal leader. That is what this legislation is about.

I am sure there are plenty of people from Business First who will be submitting their applications and their resumes so they can be appointed by the Premier, the Liberal leader, as the Commissioner of the IBAC. The government can hide behind the Governor in Council, as it says in clause 14 of this bill, but we know that when they get chauffeur driven up to Government House and they ask the Governor where to sign and when their appointment is countersigned by the Premier and Liberal leader, it will be some Business First person who will be appointed as the Commissioner of the IBAC. It is not going to be done by this Parliament and the people in this place in an open and accountable way.

I am sure some eminent Victorian will knock back the appointment. They will refuse to be appointed as an independent, accountable and transparent Commissioner of the IBAC because they would not be appointed by this Parliament; they would be appointed by the government of the day and by the Liberal leader of the day.

How are they going to look into the allegedly corrupt practices of the Baillieu government when they rely solely on the Premier and Liberal leader for their appointment to that body? That is not open and accountable. That is not transparent to the Victorian people.

This bill lacks accountability and transparency. It is purely a bill in name only to try to meet some fake election promises to deliver on an IBAC. We do not see any detail on how corruption will be tackled; we do not see any detail about how those matters will be dealt with by an IBAC. Under the cloak of an IBAC bill we are going to see the Liberal leader and Premier of the day, through his ministers and the Governor in Council, appoint the person they prefer. From clause 14 of this bill it is very clear that they will be appointing their person to investigate themselves. That is not acceptable. It is not acceptable to the people of Victoria.

We will hold this government to account, and we will hold this IBAC to account to make sure the government delivers on what it has promised the people of Victoria.