Today the NSW Liberal Government rushed through legislation that will diminish the independence of the Independent Commission Against Corruption. Read our speech defending ICAC.
Ms JENNY LEONG ( Newtown ) ( 20:54 :15 ): I make a brief contribution to debate on the Independent Commission Against Corruption (Amendment) Bill 2016. I note that the member for Balmain, Jamie Parker, outlined The Greens serious concerns with this bill. I will put on record my serious concern that what has occurred today in this Chamber is a suspension of standing orders to introduce amendments to the Independent Commission Against Corruption Act. It is important for members to consider this matter. The key factor is that this is an independent body to provide oversight in relation to one of the most serious issues that can be faced by this Parliament. It ensures that the workings of the New South Wales Parliament and its members are not corrupt.
Instead of having time to consider the bill, to show it to the community and to have it debated in public, it is being rushed through by the Government. There is interference with that independence through the amendment that will see the current commissioner removed and a new commission set up in her place. It is important to place on the record for the community that the Parliament is playing with the independence of the commission. The moment the Government of the day suspends standing orders because it has the numbers in order to bring in amendments relating to the Independent Commission Against Corruption without the support of Opposition members we must question the independence of the ICAC.
Mr Daryl Maguire: It is called democracy.
Ms JENNY LEONG: I acknowledge that interjection. The Government calls it democracy but the reality is that independence must be assured. It is concerning when a change to a supposedly independent body and corruption watchdog is rushed through Parliament. The ICAC ensures that the wrongdoing of members in this place and their actions in the past are dealt with. The member for Balmain said it is a sign of arrogance. Even if there are no bad intentions from the Government in introducing this legislation tonight, at least that perception should be reflected on by Government members. It is the perception of interference with the independence of ICAC that members are concerned about. This Parliament has seen the damage caused by corruption to the State and to the standing of politicians in the community. It is not for us to rush through change and interfere with the independence of the ICAC. Even if there are no bad intentions, the perception of wrongdoing is a matter of concern.