The question is no longer if, but how and when. Australia’s federal parliament is in agreement that we need a national-level integrity commission to prevent and tackle corruption. But if it is not well designed it will fail its purpose.
This briefing paper explains why Australia needs a strong national integrity commission and what it needs to be fit for purpose.
Establishing an independent national anticorruption commission with broad powers to investigate all types of corruption and misconduct will help promote public trust in the integrity of the federal parliament, the Commonwealth public sector and our system of government.
A fit for purpose Commission needs to have:
The Commission should have the power to investigate federal public servants as well as federal politicians and their staff, and any organisations carrying out public functions with public funds.
Strong, independent powers
The Commission should be able to conduct its own investigations with the same powers as a Royal Commission, where needed.
Public hearings, transparency and fairness
The Commission should be able to hold public hearings and/or a public inquiry when necessary
The Commission should be accessible by anyone who identifies a corruption issue, especially whistleblowers
Accountability to the public
The Commission should be accountable to the public, not captured by political interests, with oversight by a multi-party parliamentary committee.
Adequate guaranteed resources
The Commission should have adequate and independent resourcing to ensure it is effective.