Federal Anti-Corruption

Ed, Scott Morrison’s claim that a Federal Anti-Corruption body is just a ‘fringe issue’ shows he isn’t listening to the people of Australia. All Australians have an interest in a strong national integrity watchdog, but people in regional Australia have an added interest. We rely on a strong national government to provide postal, communications, infrastructure meteorological and agricultural services yet we usually live hundreds, if not thousands of miles from the capital cities where decisions about these services are made. There is a strong sense that we are out of the decision-making loop. This is why we want a strong oversight body – one that can root out corruption where it exists and guard against it where it doesn’t. The Government started the final fortnight of the year in Canberra opposed to a National Integrity Commission. Then they voted for it in the Parliament. Then Mr Morrison said the Government was only “considering” it. Then he called it a “fringe issue.” Something of this magnitude is so much more than a fringe issue to Australians living in regional areas, it’s vitally important and locals have a vested interest in it. Between programs like the Building Better Regions Fund ($641.6 million), the Regional Growth Fund ($272.2 million) and the Mobile Black Spot Program ($220 million) there is more than $1 billion in Government funding being divided up across the country. A Federal Anti-Corruption body would ensure the distribution of these funds is immune from corruption. I believe the responsible and proper allocation of more than $1 billion in taxpayer money is something locals would consider much more important than a ‘fringe issue.’     Stephen Jones Federal Member for Whitlam Shadow Minister for Regional Communications Shadow Minister for Regional Services, Territories and Local Government