Parliament’s Two-Week Break To Mourn The Queen Could Delay The Federal ICAC By Months


The installation of a federal anti-corruption commission will be delayed due to Queen Elizabeth II’s death and the two-week break politicians are taking from parliament.

I know it’s not her fault she died, but breaking for two weeks was a choice the government made.

Introducing a corruption watchdog, which has never existed at the federal level for some disturbing reason, was one of Labor’s main election promises after voters were very vocal about Scott Morrison and previous Coalition governments having, well, no integrity.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Attorney General Mark Dreyfus were due to introduce Labor’s anti-corruption commission bill to parliament on Wednesday before it would be sent for a joint committee review immediately. But a few things will now delay the federal corruption commission ball from rolling for a while.

Not only is parliament taking a break to mourn the Queen’s death until the final week of September (meanwhile the rest of us only get a day off to mourn her), but it also breaks for school holidays which are due to start in the middle of the mourning period.

Parliament’s next sitting day in the 2022 calendar is not until October 17.

The PM confirmed the House of Representatives would make up the lost sitting days but the corruption bill still needs to be reviewed. Plus the government has the October 25 budget to focus on.

The government previously said the federal anti-corruption commission legislation would be passed by the end of the year and the commission itself would be operational by mid-2023.

Having already set that target we can only hope the government sticks to it, but a whole month’s delay makes it seem unlikely.

A spokesperson for the attorney general told Guardian Australia the bill getting passed on target would depend on the new sittings, which have not been announced yet.

Deputy PM Richard Marles told ABC RN Breakfast on Monday he was “confident” they could meet the target and that the break was appropriate.

“I think the decision to not have parliamentary debate — the kind of partisan contest which goes with parliament happening at a time when really there is a sense of mourning around the nation is an appropriate decision to make and we’ll be able to make up those days and make sure that we get the legislative agenda back on track,” he said.

“All the commitments that we’ve made about the timing that we have been respectable of our policies, including that, we’re confident that we will be able to make up. But part of that is obviously needed to ensure that we do find the four days and both senate and the house that we are losing as a result of the decision that’s been made about this week, but we will find those days.”

If the bill doesn’t pass both houses of parliament by the end of the year — the final sitting day of 2022 is due to be December 1 — then it won’t happen until February. Yes, politicians get longer holidays than everyone else. This would mean the ICAC most likely wouldn’t be operational until later in 2023. A lot of corruption could happen in that time.