Paula Matthewson this week argued in Crikey that all Opposition Leader Bill Shorten's supportive talk about a federal ICAC actually "signified nothing". She did so on the very same day Labor voted against a measure introduced by the Australian Greens on just that subject. On Tuesday, during the second reading of the Fair Work Amendment (Corrupting Benefits) Bill 2017, Greens MP Adam Bandt moved that the bill not receive a second reading and called on the government instead to "establish a National Independent Commission Against Corruption". Only Bandt and independents Andrew Wilkie and Cathy McGowan voted in favour of this -- Labor unanimously voted against it.

The legislation -- to the extent it was enforceable at all -- was aimed at what the government called “sweetheart deals” between business and unions. It set fines of $4.5 million for union backhanders (more than an employer would be fined for a workplace death, spying on their employees or illegally employing children). Unions at the time were furious, with Australian Council of Trade Unions secretary Sally McManus telling Crikey the laws could "criminalise legitimate union business".