A National Integrity Commission - Restoring trust in politics and the public sector

A Shorten Labor Government will establish a National Integrity Commission to prevent, investigate and eliminate corruption inside the federal government and the public sector.

THE HON BILL SHORTEN MP

LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION

SHADOW MINISTER FOR INDIGENOUS AFFAIRS AND ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDERS

MEMBER FOR MARIBYRNONG

 

THE HON. MARK DREYFUS QC MP

SHADOW ATTORNEY-GENERAL

SHADOW MINISTER FOR NATIONAL SECURITY

MEMBER FOR ISAACS

 

A NATIONAL INTEGRITY COMMISSION –

RESTORING TRUST IN POLITICS & THE PUBLIC SECTOR

 

A Shorten Labor Government will establish a National Integrity Commission to prevent, investigate and eliminate corruption inside the federal government and the public sector.

 

In recent years there has been a loss of faith in the ability of politicians and the public service to properly represent and serve the public interest.

 

All Australians deserve to have confidence in the integrity of their government, their parliament, the public service and our public institutions.

 

While there is not substantial evidence of widespread corruption at a federal level, that is not a reason to do nothing.

 

The recent Senate inquiry has shown that Australia’s current federal anti-corruption framework is uncoordinated, inconsistent and confusing. While many agencies have some partial responsibilities in this area, their work is haphazard and overlapping.

 

It’s clear we need to strengthen and simplify our anti-corruption framework – to weed out serious and systemic corruption, promote integrity, and restore the trust of the Australian people in their representatives and institutions.

 

The National Integrity Commission will adhere to the following seven design principles:

 

  1. The Commission will operate as an independent statutory body, with sufficient resources to ensure it is able to carry out its functions regardless of the government of the day.
  2. The Commission would be constituted by one Commissioner and two Deputy Commissioners, each of whom would serve for a single, fixed, five-year term.
  3. The Commission will have sufficiently broad jurisdiction and freedom of action to operate as a standing Royal Commission into serious and systemic corruption by Commonwealth parliamentarians or their staff, public servants, statutory office holders, the Commonwealth judiciary and the Governor-General.
  4. The Commission will be granted the investigative powers of a Royal Commission, including search and surveillance powers, the power to compel witnesses and subpoena documents and carry out its own investigations, with warrant oversight by the Federal Court.
  5. While the presumption will be that hearings will be held in private, the Commission will have discretion to hold hearings in public where it determines it is in the public interest to do so. Labor will continue to consult on the appropriate threshold for such hearings.
  6. The Commission will only be empowered to make findings of fact. Any findings that could constitute criminal conduct would be referred to the AFP or Commonwealth Department of Public Prosecutions.
  7. A Joint Standing Committee of the Parliament will be established to oversee the Commission and will be empowered to require the Commission to provide information about its work. That Committee will be responsible for appointing the Commissioners. The Commission will also report to Parliament on its performance annually.

 

In government, Labor will continue to consult with experts on the design details of the Commission.

 

Legislation to establish the National Integrity Commission will be introduced into Parliament within the first 12 months of a Shorten Labor Government.

 

Labor has spent more than a year reviewing Australia’s anti-corruption framework, consulting with experts, and considering the need for a National Integrity Commission.

  

The National Integrity Commission will improve the integrity of politics and the public service. It should be above politics and agreed by all parties.

 

Labor is ready to join with the Liberals and other interested parties to begin work on a National Integrity Commission straight away.

 

More information on Labor’s policy for a National Integrity Commission can be found here.


TUESDAY, 30 JANUARY 2018