Colleen Lewis compares Victoria’s anti corruption commission, IBAC to receiving a faulty bicycle for Christmas.

Imagine, if for some time, you had received a firm promise of a new bicycle for your birthday – one that had all the bits and pieces needed to ensure you would experience smooth, efficient and effective rides. 

When your birthday arrives, with great expectation, you unwrap your present, only to find you have received a bicycle with only one wheel. After repeatedly complaining about the deficiencies inherent in such a model, and being supported in your complaints by experts in the bicycle field, you are promised the shortcomings will be rectified. Some six months later, you are presented with a remodelled bicycle. You eagerly unwrap the parcel, feeling confident it will now be equipped with all the parts required to achieve peak bicycle performance.

But, alas, the commitment to remedy the faulty model has not been fully honoured. While you are given a bicycle with two wheels, only one is round; the other is square.

This is how many Victorians felt about the original Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission (IBAC) version of an anti-corruption commission.”

The crux of the matter, she argues is politicians failure to trust themselves and to tackle the problem without politicising it themselves.

“One of the explanations governments give for not granting anti-corruption bodies the powers they need to be effective is that such bodies are too often used for political purposes.

Are Victorians, and citizens in many other Australian states, to be denied a truly effective anti-corruption body because our politicians cannot trust themselves?  If this is the case, then surely the problem that needs addressing is the behaviour of individual politicians and the parties to which they belong. Perhaps we need legislation that specifically addresses that issue. But how can we achieve such an outcome, given that those who politicise the process are the same people who have to pass legislation designed to overcome such practices.”

What Victoria needs is an independent accountability review: a Commission of Audit.