Victorian government under pressure from Greens, opposition to speed up integrity reforms – Michmutters

Victorian government under pressure from Greens, opposition to speed up integrity reforms

The Victorian government is under pressure to speed up promised integrity reforms, following a scathing report detailing “extensive” misconduct by its MPs.

The Operation Watts investigation — a joint probe between the state’s ombudsman and the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission (IBAC) — a covered rampant nepotism and the widespread misuse of public resources within the Victorian Labor party.

The Victorian Greens will introduce an anti-corruption bill when parliament summarizes this week to strengthen IBAC’s powers and establish a Parliamentary Integrity Commissioner within the next few months — almost two years sooner than the timeline indicated by the government.

The Labor Party has promised to implement all 21 of the report’s recommendations, which includes advice to establish a Parliamentary Ethics Committee and an Integrity Commissioner by June 2024.

But Brunswick MP and Greens integrity spokesperson Tim Read said the government should act immediately on the reforms.

A man in spectacles stands in front of a red brick wall.
Tim Read says integrity issues have been present in Victorian parliament for years.(Facebook: Tim Read Greens)

“There’s no reason why the government couldn’t make a good start on it this year and have an integrity commissioner appointed early next year,” Dr Read told the ABC.

“There’s a lot of precedent to this — it’s not as if there’s a hell of a lot of thought that needs to go into it.”

Catherine Williams from the Center for Public Integrity said the government must start implementing some reforms before November’s state election if it was determined to crack down on corruption.

“It’s very easy for governments to make promises to introduce change, however, we know from past experience what we need to see are steps being taken,” Dr Williams said.

“A commitment is one thing, what we really require is action.”

The Liberal opposition has also backed the push to speed up reforms, with Matthew Guy saying he would be “more than happy to look into it” when parliament returns.

Daniel Andrews speaks to media during a press conference at Ambulance Victoria Training Centre.
Daniel Andrews has committed to implementing the recommendations from the report.

Premier Daniel Andrews said on Friday the government would be “faithful” to the timeline provided by the integrity agencies.

“Some of it will be able to be achieved quickly, other elements of those recommendations in that reform will take a bit longer, but we’re committed to all of them,” Mr Andrews said.

“If we can better it, if we can do it even faster, then of course we will.”

Reports reveal misconduct likely to be repeated

Last week, a fresh report from the Victorian Ombudsman into Labor’s red shirts affair warned that until corruption was addressed with the “necessary rigour”, the scandals were “unlikely to be the last”.


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