Helen Haines to introduce federal integrity commission bill

Helen Haines.
Helen Haines.

Crossing the floor in Australian Parliament is a rare move for MPs, but Helen Haines believes some could be willing to do so when it comes to debating her federal integrity commission bill.

The Independent MP will introduce the bill in the House of Representatives on Monday.

The government has the power to leave it there with no action, but Dr Haines is hopeful that by early December, she could get support needed to at least have a debate. While the states have their own integrity commissions, to investigate corruption by public servants, there is not one on a national level.

"There has been actually in the last week, since I've been talking about this much more... a steady stream of people approaching me now asking about my bill," Dr Haines, the member for Indi in North East Victoria, said.

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"Quite a few people have indicated to me that they are willing to cross the floor to bring on debate - that's a big move for them to do.

"It doesn't mean they would necessarily vote in favour of my bill, but that they are really strongly in favour of us finally (having the debate) - because we have never had a debate in the House of Representatives on a federal integrity commission bill."

Attorney General Christian Porter has said the federal government wanted to conduct consultation around its draft integrity legislation, but not during the worst of the coronavirus pandemic.

The MP's bill has received extra attention since revelations at NSW's Independent Commission Against Corruption about the relationship between Premier Gladys Berejiklian and disgraced former Wagga MP Daryl Maguire.

Although this has increased public interest in the possibility of government corruption, Dr Haines said "any day is good timing to introduce a federal integrity commission".

"What I think the last couple of weeks have demonstrated are just more examples of why we absolutely need one," she said.

The examples also included senior Australia Post employees being gifted gold watches, the federal government paying more money than land was worth for a future airport in Western Sydney, and the ongoing sports rorts scandal.

"It just goes on and on, the list just gets longer and longer," Dr Haines said.

"Many things are converging this week about the need for a federal integrity commission."

This story 'MPs willing to cross floor' on integrity bill first appeared on The Border Mail.