A National Integrity Commission: an idea whose time has come

Australia’s trust in federal politics is at an all-time low. Australians have never trusted their politicians less. When operational, the National Anti-Corruption Commission will investigate and expose corruption and serious misconduct at a federal level and help restore faith in our democracy.

What’s Wrong with the Morrison’s Government CIC Model

The National Integrity Committee has concluded that the Morrison’s Government’s CIC proposal

… falls disastrously short of providing an effective body to counter and expose corruption at a National level. Especially in relation to the examination of corruption in the public sector, this model will rightly be seen by the community as a sham, and as a deliberate political diversion designed to shield the public sector, and in particular politicians and their staff, from proper scrutiny and accountability. It will bring the government into justified contempt and harm Australia‘s reputation. Our stocks in the integrity field are presently low and this proposal will further diminish them, and significantly so.

In our view, an ineffective commission is worse than no commission at all.

Critical shortcomings of the draft legislation include:

  • Doubt around whether the legislation applies to Ministers
  • The split between law enforcement and public sector corruption, effectively shielding the public sector, parliamentarians, and their staff from any proper scrutiny
  • A law-enforcement official can be investigated for “corruption of any kind“, however, a politician can only be investigated if there is a “reasonable suspicion” that a crime has been committed, thereby preventing even the most preliminary investigation from occurring
  • No public hearings, no public reports, no public findings against the public sector, parliamentarians, or their staff
  • No whistle-blower complaints against the public sector, parliamentarians, and their staff
  • A limited ability to launch an investigation on the Commission’s own initiative

Read the Committee’s full submission.

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