The Australia Institute welcomes the establishment of a Senate Select Committee to provide parliamentary scrutiny of the Federal Government’s COVID-19 decisions.
“It is a positive sign for our democracy to see MPs from all sides of politics championing such an oversight committee. What started as a call from a group of eminent retired judges to establish a NZ-style oversight committee, quickly became a policy auction for how best to form such a committee,” said Ben Oquist, Executive Director of the Australia Institute.
“The Australian public can take confidence that MPs from all sides of politics and both houses of Parliament — Labor, Greens, independents Zali Steggall, Helen Haines, Senators Jacqui Lambie and Rex Patrick — are taking seriously the responsibility of Parliament in providing scrutiny and accountability to the Government’s COVID-19 response.
“It is important that strong parliamentary scrutiny continues and that any oversight committee has full powers to hold Ministers and officials to account.
“The Government is making huge decisions extremely rapidly, decisions which effect Australians’ health, liberty and the national economy. It is exactly at times like this that Australia needs more parliamentary scrutiny, not less.”
A group of retired judges, convened by the Australia Institute, has been leading the call for the establishment of a New Zealand style oversight committee when Parliament resumed, to ensure adequate scrutiny of the COVID-19 response.