The federal government aims to introduce legislation to establish a national integrity commission (NIC) by the end of 2022.
Independent MP Helen Haines has welcomed indications from the government that the anti-corruption commission will be overseen by a joint parliamentary committee. However, some crossbenchers contend that the committee should be chaired by a non-government MP.
From The Guardian:
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The attorney general, Mark Dreyfus, continued consultations for the integrity commission this week, confirming the government will bring a bill in the September sitting before an inquiry and vote this year.
The independent MP Helen Haines [said] that it “appears the [Labor government] bill will include a statutory joint committee” which she was “very hopeful” of joining.
“I’m encouraged there will be a joint committee, but we expect more detail to be brought forward about its role in funding.
“We want the national anti-corruption commission to be enduring and well-resourced.”
Crossbenchers have asked for the committee to include and even be chaired by non-government members, and have the power to set the commission’s budget, which would then be approved by the government.
The Greens senator David Shoebridge said “there are some issues that remain unresolved” including “genuine financial independence for the new commission”.
Despite some quibbles at the margin, the NIC is shaping up to be fairly robust.
From what we know, it will operate independently from government and will have broad jurisdiction to investigate corruption across the Commonwealth public sector, including parliamentarians and staff, public officials, and contracted service providers.
Under the former Coalition Government’s reign, we saw Australia plummet down Transparency International’s (TI) corruption index, suffering a massive 12 point fall over the decade:
The US-based anti-corruption alliance also threatened to pull Australia’s membership following Australia’s failure to implement anti-corruption measures.
Thus, the new NIC is long overdue and vital to stop the corruption rot inside the federal government and its agencies.