Polling: National Integrity Powers to Investigate and Deter Corruption Crucial

New polling finds that most Australians support the formation of a national integrity commission with the powers it needs to investigate and deter corruption.

Key Findings:

  • Seven in 10 Australians (69%) agree that not legislating an integrity commission represents a broken election promise by the Coalition
  • When asked which from a list of eight powers are necessary for an effective integrity commission, an overwhelming majority agree each power is needed

“Despite his protestations today, Scott Morrison has failed to explain why the Government has never introduced integrity commission legislation to the Parliament — despite promising to implement an integrity commission over three years ago,” said Bill Browne, head of the Australia Institute’s Democracy & Accountability program.

“The Government’s proposed integrity commission would fall disastrously short of what is needed to stamp out public sector corruption. An integrity commission that could not act on whistleblower complaints or call public hearings would not be able to hold politicians or public servants to account.

“If Mr Morrison were genuine about implementing an integrity commission, he could have brought the legislation on for debate any time during the last term of Government and allowed the Parliament to improve the model through amendments, as is its role.

“It is absurd that federal law enforcement officials are subject to stricter anti-corruption controls than federal politicians and senior public servants. The same integrity rules should apply to all,” Mr Browne said.

“Popular support for a national integrity commission with the necessary powers to investigate corruption reinforces the National Integrity Committee’s longstanding call for any legislated integrity commission to satisfy seven basic principles for an effective integrity commission. Without these powers, any proposed commission risks being ineffective – and an ineffective commission is worse than no commission at all,” said The Hon Carmel McLure AC QC, member of the National Integrity Committee and former President of the Western Australian Court of Appeal.

“There is overwhelming public support for a national integrity commission, and what the latest Australia Institute polling proves is that the community expects any anti-corruption watchdog to come with teeth

“A majority of Australians of every voting intention support a national integrity commission, with support highest among Labor and Coalition voters.

“Australians support a national integrity commission that can hold public hearings, make public findings of corruption, receive and act on whistleblower complaints and compel people to provide evidence.”

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