The Victorian Greens and the Legalise Cannabis Party have secured a significant reform to Victoria’s integrity system that integrity bodies and the former IBAC commissioner have been calling for.
An agreement has been secured with the Government to reform Parliament’s powerful Integrity and Oversight Committee so that it no longer has a government majority or a government chair.
This was a key recommendation made by former IBAC commissioner Robert Redlich in his outgoing letter to the Victorian Parliament.
The Greens say this is a much stronger way to improve the state’s integrity system than the select committee being proposed by the Opposition, and that a reformed Integrity and Oversight Committee would be able to consider the matters raised in the Opposition’s proposed terms of reference.
By ensuring the Integrity and Oversight Committee has a non-government chair and non-government majority, the committee will be empowered to investigate government misconduct independently of the government’s wishes.
Victorian Greens integrity spokesperson, Dr Tim Read, said Victoria had been plagued with integrity scandals in recent years, and the Government had done too little to bring the state’s integrity standards up to scratch.
In the letter sent by former IBAC commissioner Robert Redlich to Parliament – which was sent to the presiding officers with the intention of being circulated to MPs – Redlich said changing the composition of the Integrity and Oversight Committee would be an important step the Government could take to improve the state’s integrity standards.
Quotes attributable to Victorian Greens integrity spokesperson, Dr Tim Read:
“We want to see Victoria better protected from corruption. For that reason, no single political party should have a majority on the Integrity and Oversight Committee; it should be truly independent.
“The Integrity and Oversight Committee is now in a powerful position to hold the current and future governments accountable with the precedent created.
“We have worked with all parties on this because we want to see an outcome that improves the state’s anti-corruption regime.
“I’d like to thank the Government, the Coalition and Legalise Cannabis for all taking this issue seriously, giving us a positive result.
“Our priority has been to get an outcome rather than headlines and we’re pleased to see an improvement in our anti-corruption regime.”
Quotes attributable to Legalise Cannabis Party member for South-Eastern Metropolitan, Rachel Payne MLC:
“Not only will these significant reforms deliver a committee that no longer has a government chair and majority, it is exactly what the former IBAC Commissioner and integrity experts have been calling for, delivers an immediate response and restores faith in public processes and practices.”