Senate debates

Tuesday, 29 November 2022


National Anti-Corruption Commission Bill 2022, National Anti-Corruption Commission (Consequential and Transitional Provisions) Bill 2022; In Committee

1:20 pm

Photo of David PocockDavid Pocock (ACT, Independent) Share this | Hansard source

by leave—I move amendments (1) to (4) on sheet 1769, circulated in my name, together:

(1) Clause 8, page 15 (line 20), at the end of subclause (1), add:

; (e) any conduct of a public official that involves the allocation of public funds or other resources to targeted electors for partisan political purposes.

(2) Clause 8, page 15 (after line 20), after subclause (1), insert:

(1A) Corrupt conduct is also any conduct of any person (whether or not a public official) that impairs, or that could impair, public confidence in public administration and which could involve any of the following matters:

(a) collusive tendering;

(b) fraud in relation to applications for licences, permits or other authorities under legislation designed to protect health and safety or the environment or designed to facilitate the management and commercial exploitation of resources;

(c) dishonestly obtaining or assisting in obtaining, or dishonestly benefiting from, the payment or application of public funds for private advantage or the disposition of public assets for private advantage;

(d) defrauding the public revenue;

(e) fraudulently obtaining or retaining employment or appointment as a public official.

(3) Clause 8, page 15 (line 21), omit "does not", substitute "and subsection (1A) do not".

(4) Clause 8, page 16 (line 15), after "paragraph (1)(a)", insert "or subsection (1A)".

These amendments were moved by the member for Indi, Helen Haines, in the lower house. Again, I would like to thank her for her work on this issue over many years.

These amendments make clear that pork-barrelling is corruption. We've seen concerns in communities across the country with the way that public funds have been allocated for political gain. This makes it clear that that can be investigated. I'm also concerned that this bill falls short when it comes to conduct by third parties that could impair public confidence in public administration—in particular, practices of collusive tendering, dishonestly obtaining benefit from public funding decisions and defrauding public revenue. This makes it clear that those are included.

It's clear that to restore public trust we need the very best model of a national anticorruption commission we can possibly have. We should be aiming for world-leading; that's what the Australian people have called for and expect. I believe these amendments go some way to ensuring that we make explicit what we are hearing is implied by this legislation.


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