Coalition’s big election backflip | Herald Sun

Andrew McIntosh

In February, Crime Prevention Minister Andrew McIntosh said the anti-corruption commission was on track to be operating by July. Source: Herald Sun

THE Baillieu Government has conceded it will break a core election promise – to have an independent anti-corruption body by July 1.

In last year’s election campaign, the then Opposition’s commitment to an independent broad-based anti-corruption commission running by the middle of this year could not have been clearer.

The Coalition’s policy document stated: “IBAC will be operational on 1 July 2011.”

And as recently as February, Crime Prevention Minister Andrew McIntosh told the Herald Sun the commission was on track to be operating by July.

But in an interview with the Sunday Herald Sun on Friday, Mr McIntosh revealed the July deadline was unlikely to be met as he detailed a consultation process that could see its introduction delayed until 2012.

“I know we had a policy to get this done by the first of July,” he said.

“But what we need to do is get this right.”

This dramatic backflip — the biggest the new Baillieu Government has performed — begs the question, when will it be up and running?

“It’s pretty hard to say precisely. These are really, really complex issues,” Mr McIntosh conceded.

Mr McIntosh reveals today he has appointed a four-member panel to hold several months of talks with the judiciary, police, lawyers and others. There is a risk that this could bog the entire process down.

But clearly, the Government has arrived at the conclusion that it’s better to take on some water over a broken promise than rush in and establish a flawed organisation that will haunt the Government throughout its first term.

This is a commonsense decision by Mr McIntosh and the Baillieu Cabinet.

But it does point to just how ill-prepared for government the Opposition was.

To predicate such a core promise on an unachievable timetable smacks of naivety at best and reckless opportunism at worst.

 

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