10 March 2013: Transparency International Australia calls for federal ‘ICAC’ body

Transparency International Australia (TIA) has called for the formation of a federal anti-corruption body in the wake of questions raised about alleged links between persons connected with New South Wales politics and their associates and almost $48 million of Centrelink tenancy leases across the country.

As Centrelink falls under a federal department, the allegations are reportedly to be investigated by an internal departmental unit because there is no federal independent body.

The internalisation of the investigation has concerned TIA Chief Executive, Michael Ahrens.

“This case demonstrates further the need for a broad-based, independent Commonwealth anti-corruption body,” Mr Ahrens said.

“These bodies exist in most State and Territory jurisdictions, but there is not yet a general federal oversight body that is independent of the government and the bureaucracy.

“The same temptations exist for public servants in the Commonwealth sphere as those at the state level.”

“There are huge amounts at risk through corruption at a federal level and when they are raised these cases greatly affect Australia’s international reputation,” Mr Ahrens continued.

Mr Ahrens said  “We at TIA are still hopeful the long awaited National Anti-Corruption Plan will address this issue and contain a firm proposal to rectify the lack of a broad based oversight body at the Commonwealth level.”

Media Contact:

Michael Ahrens |  0411360 209 | mca@zeta.org.au

Ben Jackson | 0417 407 565 | bjackson@jacksonpr.com.au