Greens 'Federal ICAC' stunt exposed

Following the debate on the Greens’ National Integrity Commission Bill 2013 on 15th May 2014, Greens Senators have sought to completely mislead the public about Labor’s position on the creation of a 'federal ICAC'. 

Here is exactly what happened in the Senate on 15th May.

The bill was introduced to the Senate on 13th November 2013 by Senator Milne as a private senators’ bill.

The bill came on for debate on Thursday 15th May 2014 during the time allotted for debate on private senators’ business.

You can read the debate at pages 1 to 19 of the Daily Hansard here.

After a mere five Senators had the opportunity to speak on the bill, Greens Senator Larissa Waters moved “That the question be now put” (see p.13). This is known as the 'Gag Motion' and its purpose is to shut down debate.

At the time, there were nineteen Senators wishing to speak on the bill. The motion to gag debate was put to a vote and was lost. The only Senators to vote in favour of the gag were the Greens.

The only three Labor Senators to speak on the bill in the time available on the day were Lisa Singh, John Faulkner, and myself.

Each of us spoke in favour of the creation of a 'federal ICAC', but not necessarily in the form proposed in the Greens’ bill.

I only got to speak after the Greens’ gag motion was defeated.

The only senators to speak unequivocally against the bill were members of the Coalition.

The day’s debate on the bill concluded at the expiry of the time allocated for private senators’ business and the bill will be re-listed for debate at a future date. The bill has not been rejected.

At the conclusion of the debate, Greens Senator Scott Ludlum tweeted that Labor and Coalition Senators combined to defeat the bill.

This was a lie.

This was followed by a press release from Senator Milne that claimed, “Labor and the Abbott government have joined forces to stand in the way of a national ICAC”.

This was not as clearly a lie as Senator Ludlum’s tweet but was equally misleading.

Of course, nothing of the sort had happened, but the intention of the Greens was not to have a serious debate on the bill, but to pull a political stunt.

What had happened was that a majority of Senators including Labor and the cross-bench had stood in the way of a Greens stunt to gag debate on what is a very important issue, one which Labor takes very seriously and one in which over a quarter of the Senate had expressed an interest in debating before the Greens attempted to shut it down.

I support the creation of a 'federal ICAC' and I am looking forward to the Senate continuing the debate on the bill.

It will be interesting to see if the Greens attempt to gag it again.

Showing 27 reactions

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  • the greens are always doing back flips just look what they did to the bill to make multimillion dollar companies declair their earnings if they had backed labor they had the numbers but they cut a deal with LNP to favor another agenda i am sick of the way these people treat Australians Tony Abbott is the most corrupt lying politician he should never have been allowed to be PM

    The AEC should have called for a full disclosure of all aspects of the Australians for honest politics trust. It is admitted by Mr Abbott that the trust was initiated by Tony Abbott, a Liberal Party MP who was a trustee of the Trust. All correspondence from Mr Abbott was on the LIBERAL party controlled Federal Government letterhead and on its face, an official communication from the Federal Government. As admitted by the 1st defendant, the trust operated for the sole political benefit of the Liberal Party. The Liberals were the Party most affected by voter losses in the Qld State Election and the rising success of the One Nation party. Consider the following.
    1. The Liberals had the most to gain from the destruction of the One Nation party.
    2. The Liberal party had the most to lose if the One Nation party entered the October 1998 Federal Election unblemished and attracted the same high level of votes as it did in Qld.
    3. Tony Abbott, a Liberal M.P. was the sole media advocate for the Trust. Tony Abbott, a Liberal M.P. was the person who travelled to Queensland, presumably on taxpayer funded flights and claimed accommodation and other expenses from the Public purse to covertly meet with Terry Sharple’s and various lawyers. One date when this occurred was on or about 27th July 1998 a date referred to in the sworn affidavit of lawyer David Frank. Another is when Mr Abbott provided his ‘indemnity’ dated July 11th 1998.
    4. Mr Abbott planned maintenance activity against the One Nation Party which he has admitted was paid for by the Australians for honest politics trust.
    5. If Mr Abbott used his expenses allowance and Parliamentary flights to conduct the business of the Trust, as he did with official letterhead, then he has joined the Liberal Party and the Federal Government into the activities of the Trust and perhaps also made the trust an associated entity of the Liberal party.
    6. The Australians for honest politics trust documents will show if any of Mr Abbott’s costs in attending meetings in Queensland with Mr Sharple’s and various lawyers, were disbursed from the funds of the trust. Mr Abbott claims the trust was wound up in July 2000.
    7. If Mr Abbott’s travel costs were not met by the trust, or the Liberal Party, then Mr Abbott may be guilty of claiming from public money any expenses he may have sought for air travel, accommodation and use of com cars for a non-government purpose, and be guilty of the serious offence of misusing public funds.

    he did not disclose his daughters 60,000 grant and lied about that too
    he broke over 100 election promises he more than trippled the deficit
    employment down
    wages down
    taxes higher
    Then comes the shameless misappropriation of public funds by politicians of all levels. Tax paid by hard working Australians that is intended to support the Australian people to achieve a base level of living is being used to pay Joe Hockey’s wife’s mortgage. Tax-payer dollars are being used to give Bronwyn Bishop a $5,000 helicopter ride to a Liberal function.
    Joe was earning over $300,000 plus car plus travel plus all the other perks and he is charging the Australian tax payer to pay for his wifes’ negatively geared mortgage while unemployed people have to live for a whole week on his $270 a night payment to his wife …..there has to be someone who can see this is a rort surely
  • This is so, so frustrating. The Greens should not be blocking the opportunity for parties with integrity to pass legislation.
    Labor is setting itself up with some high standards to reach in government, but I think you’re set to fulfill them.
  • A National Parliamentary Integrity Commissioner, promised by Julia Gillard as part of winning the support of the Greens after the 2010 election, was never introduced.

    In 2012, the Gillard government claimed that there was “no convincing case for the establishment of a single overarching integrity commission”. Rather, the government championed the benefits of the fragmented system of accountability that currently exists, asserting that “no single body should be responsible”. The government explained that by distributing responsibility, “a strong system of checks and balances” is created.

    Hey Doug – weren’t you a part fo the Gillard Government in 2012?
  • Doug Cameron, put forward your own Bill. If labor believe in a Fed. ICAC, then make it happen.
  • Forget the politics. Join forces with others who want a Federal ICAC and make it happen. This sort of sniping does no good whatsoever, and just confirms people’s suspicion that we don’t have a Federal ICAC because the parties have something to hide. They are not interested in the “he said I said” nonsense. They are becoming increasingly frustrated by what seems to be pure self-interest, and losing faith in the entire process of government.

    This country’s fabric is being ripped asunder because of our loathsome government. Please, focus on the real enemy, the Coalition, and save us from the ideologues crippling our nation. The Greens are not your enemy, and you are not theirs.
  • The Greens regularly create stunts just as they did when Kevin Rudd was PM and sought an ETS instead of the carbon ‘tax’. It is either their way or no way – they do not like to compromise. But we NEED a federal ICAC and if labor fights hard for one it will show that labor is trying to be clean, act clean and to be transparent, unlike so many examples of the Libs including today re Pyne and Slipper and re Credlin and the NSW ICAC
  • So introduce your own bill.
  • Condescending oligarchs are now on websites and twitter dictating how others live and where money should go. Believing that the taxes they pay are their own personal nest egg, due to this government’s rhetoric. And you are talking ICAC legislation.

    This government is bringing out a hit a day that effect millions. To be frank Senator with all respect I don’t know whether the labor party has been kicked punched or snake bit but no one at present gives a ratsarse about any ICAC legislation. We want something done about relevant issues effecting millions in Education, people at 30 losing their support now the disabled the list is endless.
  • It would be really satisfying if the Greens and Labor could work out a strong coalition relationship. To bring Labor back to the left would restore my belief in their intentions and to give the Greens a better voice AND call them to account also is not a bad thing.
  • Here’s hoping that the Greens, Labor and Independents bring in the Federal ICAC, then, and sooner rather than later …. yes, as shown on this week’s Four Corners …. very much needed.
  • Both Labor and the Greens want a Federal ICAC, but haven’t come to an agreement about the Federal ICAC.

    The Labor point of view is that the the Greens wanted to gag the debate. From the Green point of view Labor helped the coalition engineer a filibuster which meant the Federal ICAC was delayed.

    Again, further evidence for Labor and the Greens to work together beforehand.
  • This bill has apparently been discussed twice before this particular event, so it’s a bit rich to say that not enough time / debate has been allowed. How long does it take to shred all the evidence and take a vote?
  • Scott Ludlum’s tweet did not say you combined to defeat the bill. It said you combined to defeat a particular vote on the bill. Please quote it directly or link to it.
  • What is stopping Labor and the Greens getting together and getting a joint motion together? Last night’s Four Corners programme showed how widespread corruption is the necessity of a Federal ICAC to at least make investigations possible.
  • yeah,
    you wanted the talking to be endless so you wouldn’t have to vote on it, something you accomplished.
  • So what is your position….
  • Cameron is the liar. The gag would have let him put his vote where his mouth is. “the bill has not been rejected” – just put off till the 12th of never. Liar
  • The need for a Federal ICAC is extremely pressing …. for more reasons than I can count on both my hands. What was wrong with the version the Greens were trying to bring in?
  • David Charles Stone …. No Senator should be told how to vote. They may have party “guidelines” on policy, but ultimately it’s the senators decision. It’s also why to senate ballet paper is a joke these days. They flood it with bullshit candidates so you can’t be bothered filling it in properly and hence getting in a member who will tow the party line.
  • It is very disappointing to hear that a gag motion was moved in the senate! I rely on the senate for true debate of what is the best for all Australians. When would a gag motion ever be necessary?
    Also, can you please advise what it was about The Greens Federal ICAC bill that you were not happy to support?
  • So, who will you vote for now, Bernadette Gossage?
  • Thank you for posting this. I was not able to find details of this elsewhere online.
  • “That the speaker no longer be heard” is a gag motion. Doug you are one of the few respectable people left in the ALP. But you are in a binding party so if the ALP thought it was crucial why would you want to delay it you would have already been told how to vote. Or is this simply a case of the ALP pretending their tactics commitee is nicer than the Greens.
  • I used to vote Green or ALP. Not anymore. They, the Greens, have become so ridiculous that it is hard to take them seriously anymore.