Page 2360 - Week 07 - Thursday, 4 August 2022

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and on behalf of them are done with the highest levels of integrity, transparency, accountability and probity.

In May of this year, I released an exposure draft calling for cabinet documents to be released after 30 days. As a unicameral parliament we do not have the benefit of an upper house that acts as a house of review. The New Zealand national parliament has instituted this policy. And if New Zealand, with issues of national security at play, is committed to this, surely the ACT parliament can do the same. In June we saw the release of the Coaldrake review into the Queensland government. I welcome the Queensland Labor Premier’s commitment to accept all 14 recommendations from that review, including the release of cabinet documents after 30 days.

As members in this chamber know, my bill is currently open for public consultation. I implore the Labor-Greens government to support it, and today I call on the Labor-Greens government to support my call to establish a standing committee on integrity. Members here in the last term may remember that we did have a standing committee overseeing the Integrity Commission in the last term, established at the same time as the Integrity Commission opened its doors. Understandably, in the first few years, whilst the commission was setting up, it was difficult for the committee to have much of a role. It is a vastly different situation now.

The ACT is the only state or territory in Australia without a dedicated parliamentary committee on integrity. A committee like this would be charged with examining ways to continuously improve integrity in public administration in the territory. It would monitor and report on the work of the Integrity Commission and the Inspector of the Integrity Commission, including examining the annual reports, and it would be empowered to inquire into and report on integrity matters of concern to the community.

I know that many people in this place may say that this role already sits with the Standing Committee on Justice and Community Safety. But, as members past and present of that committee know, their workload is heavy and they must divide their time across a huge range of matters. Let us not forget also that this committee plays a significant role in the scrutiny of bills. Stretching thin the JACS committee, with its significant subject matter workload, in addition to its scrutiny of bills function, means that it is not properly or adequately able to provide scrutiny and oversight on integrity as any parliament should.

Integrity is just too important to be looked at part time. I know there might be some who will say that this is a duplication or overlap of the Integrity Commission’s work. That is simply not the case. A standing committee on integrity would communicate regularly with the Integrity Commission to ensure that their work was complementary. I remind members again that we are the only jurisdiction in Australia that does not have a standalone parliamentary committee on integrity.

This committee would also enhance the independence of funding arrangements for the Integrity Commission and ensure that legislative amendments proposed by the commissioner are given due and proper attention. The committee would send a strong signal to the community that we, as parliamentarians, take integrity seriously and will

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