National Integrity Committee calls for bipartisan support of integrity plan

The Australia Institute’s National Integrity Committee of former judges and corruption fighters is today meeting in Sydney to launch their Implementation Plan for a National Integrity Commission. 

In the lead up to the Wentworth byelection, the committee has written to candidates calling for support from all parties of its plan to establish a federal corruption watchdog.

Following on from the detailed design work undertaken by the committee to date, the Implementation Plan outlines how a National Integrity Commission would be established within the existing integrity framework.

The recommendations of the Implementation Plan include:

• Incorporating ACLEI into the National Integrity Commission

• Using a referral process between the other existing integrity agencies and the NIC, as is currently exercised at a state level

• Broad power to accept complaints in any form, including anonymous complaints

• Allowing the Commissioner to make the decision to begin investigations, including own motion investigations 

Former NSW ICAC Commissioner and NSW Court of Appeal Judge David Ipp AO QC said today, “Integrity and accountability are critical features of democracy. One would hope for bipartisan support of these issues.”

“The establishment of a National Integrity Commission should be an urgent matter for candidates and elected representatives from all parties,” Mr Ipp said.

Former Victorian Court of Appeal judge and adviser on IBAC design Stephen Charles AO QC said, “The committee’s Implementation Plan outlines how a National Integrity Commission will strengthen and work alongside existing integrity agencies. Building on our previous design work, there is now ample evidence that a National Integrity Commission with broad jurisdiction and strong investigative powers can and should be established.”

“Once a commission is established, public hearings are key to investigating and exposing corruption. Without public hearings, transparency and accountability cannot be achieved,” Mr Charles said.

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