A strong federal integrity commission
After two decades of debate, Australia is close to introducing a new agency for combatting federal government corruption – filling the single biggest institutional gap in the nation’s integrity system.
However, there is intense debate over whether the new commission will deliver the system that the community needs and expects.
These questions reinforce Australia’s opportunity to ensure the new agency makes a substantial and positive impact, nationally and globally. They also show that design of the federal integrity commission is striving to overcome difficulties in anti-corruption enforcement which have become very clear, not only locally but internationally. This includes the need for:
- Scope to adapt to address changing forms of corruption, integrity risk and public concern about abuse of entrusted power
- Strong, systematic and enforced prevention measures for promoting integrity
- Best-practice investigation and enforcement powers aimed at securing remedies
The way these issues are addressed will impact on the effectiveness and credibility of the federal integrity commission with the wider public.
As the commonwealth parliament prepares to legislate, there is opportunity to move beyond simply copying state anti-corruption bodies or existing law enforcement agencies, and instead establish a best-practice model for all jurisdictions.