| September 12, 2018
MPI: Independent Integrity Commission
In speaking to this motion, it must be very clearly enunciated from the outset that the Attorney-General is not against this concept. He is very, very clear in saying that, if you are going to develop an IBAC, it has to be done in the correct manner and in the right format. He's listed a litany of New South Wales examples where it seems to have not worked very well, but he's absolutely not ruling out that we should go down this path. What he's saying is that we need to go down this path with caution.
Another example where an IBAC is in place but it doesn't seem to be working very well is in Victoria. With the current government in Victoria they have an absolute litany of examples of frauds and misuse of public money. They have a litany of examples of misuse of resources, of taxpayers' money. We had a minister in Victoria who was using taxpayers' money to have his dogs chauffeured around the state. He thought it was a good use of money for him to organise his own personal chauffeur—that the taxpayer was paying for—to take the dogs out to the weekender and then bring the dogs back into town. The IBAC didn't seem to pick that up. Somehow or other the IBAC didn't have an interest in that sort of misuse of public money.
There was another issue in the Victorian parliament that was a misuse of public money where the Speaker in the Victorian parliament and the Deputy Speaker in the Victorian parliament, both long-term Labor people, both long-term senior Labor figures in Victoria, had made a meticulous decision, a longstanding decision, that they would claim that they were living in a caravan down at the beach, 90 kilometres away from the parliament, as their primary place of residence. Making this claim, for these senior Labor people in Victoria, meant that they were then entitled to about $28,000 per year over a number of years. Both of them misused over $100,000 of the taxpayers' money for their own personal gain, and again the IBAC didn't have anything to do.
It's interesting that Labor's lead speaker on this, who himself is a Victorian, happened to just overlook what you might call these errors of judgement—errors of judgement that lasted three years—from these senior Victorian Labor people in his own state. Again, the IBAC didn't inquire into or judge these misuses of Victorian taxpayers' money.
Of course, we then have the rorts-for-votes scandal, which was another $380,000 rip-off of the Victorian taxpayers. Again the IBAC had nothing to do with this. It was simply raised, and the Labor Party then spent over a million dollars in Victoria fighting to have an inquiry into this issue. The rorts in Victoria, the misuse of the taxpayers' money in Victoria, under a Labor Party government have been absolutely stunning. The theft, effectively, of taxpayers' money for their own purposes has just been incredibly brazen, for everybody to see.
And this is nothing to do with having to pay back $1.2 billion when you said that you would not cost the Victorian taxpayer one cent. In a sense, the Premier was probably right. He wasn't going to make anyone pay a cent for knocking back the East West Link. He made the Victorian taxpayer pay $1.2 billion for a road that now Infrastructure Victoria has listed as a priority road.
I think the Attorney-General is right that, if we're going to go down this path of putting in place a federal IBAC, we need to make sure it's done in a manner that will have some opportunity to catch some of these incredibly brazen and deceitful members of parliament. We can only beg to understand what was going through those senior Labor figures' minds when they thought it was okay to rip off Victorian taxpayers for the 'red shirts' campaign; it was okay to get your dog chauffeured around the state; and it was okay to tell lies about the fact that where you lived as a primary place of residence was a caravan at the beach.