Media Release: Critical first step to strengthening integrity

13 December 2018

Transparency International Australia welcomes the Government’s announcement of a Commonwealth Integrity Commission, but calls for stronger powers to fight corruption and improve transparency.

Transparency International Australia’s CEO, Serena Lillywhite said, ‘we have long called for a federal agency to fight corruption and strengthen the integrity of our public officials. This is a critical step to rebuilding trust in the institutions of our democracy.

‘We are pleased the Government has accepted the evidence that we need a national integrity agency, and we look forward to working with government and the Federal Parliament to advance this important reform.

‘It is important that Australia adopts the best model for the new commission so that we don’t end up with a toothless tiger.’

TIA Chair, Fiona McLeod SC said, ‘we look forward to seeing more detail on how the coordination role will work and how the commission will be empowered and resourced to prevent corruption. It is important that any new offence of corruption under the Commonwealth Criminal Code be carefully designed.

‘The new commission should have a strong coordination role for all agencies and the power to hold public hearings for all matters where it is in the public interest to do so.

‘We would like the new integrity regime to also include parliamentary standards for elected officials and their staff, and good mechanisms for the public and whistleblowers to provide information or make complaints.’