30 November 2022

Landmark National Anti-Corruption Commission legislation a new chapter in Australia’s political history

The passing of the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) Bill later today is a landmark day for addressing corruption that will lift standards of integrity and help restore the health of our democracy says Transparency International Australia.

 The NACC which will pass the lower house today after amendments in the senate last night to strengthen the role of the Inspector is the most significant piece of integrity reform Australia has seen in half-a-century. After a decade of decline on Transparency International’s global corruption perception index and countless corruption scandals, this commission hopefully represents a new chapter in Australia’s federal politics that will be free from corruption.

  Clancy Moore, CEO of Transparency International Australia made the following comments:

 “After more than 15 years of campaigning, the Commonwealth will soon have the National Anti-Corruption Commission which will prevent, detect, and stop corruption. This will help treat the virus that corruption has become on our federal politics and lead to a healthier and fairer democracy for all.”

 “The final legislation is very strong with the only real gaps being the issue of public hearings, a failure to include strong whistle-blowers protections and a question over the independence of the appointment of the commissioners and the Inspector. We look forward to the government taking some important steps this week to improve protections for the brave people that blow the whistle on corruption.”

 “Unfortunately, the government chose to keep the exceptional circumstances test which sets a high bar for public hearings. Important information into corruption could be kept hidden from the public and could stop more information coming to light. Our research shows that this is the most restrictive test for public hearings in the country – except South Australia, which has no public hearings.”

 “Independence was a key design principle for the commission. So it’s disappointing to see our proposal for a two-thirds majority of the parliamentary oversight committee needed to approve the appointments to the commission get rejected. Time will tell whether the oversight committee will be free from political interference as it only needs a majority of one to approve appointments which favours the government of day.”    

 “The government’s move to limit the scope of the definition of corrupt conduct in amendments this week was unfortunate but the scope is still broad and allows the commission to adequately investigate, prevent and stop corruption. The commission also has strong educative and prevention powers which is extremely important as the best way to stop corruption taking place is to prevent it.”

 “Transparency International Australia acknowledges the government, cross-bench and opposition MPs, and public servants for their hard work in delivering this important public policy reform.”