Tuesday, 29 November 2022
National Anti-Corruption Commission Bill 2022, National Anti-Corruption Commission (Consequential and Transitional Provisions) Bill 2022; In Committee
David Pocock (ACT, Independent) Share this | Hansard source
I'm happy to do that, Chair. By leave—I move:
(5) Clause 177, page 148 (line 19), before "to review", insert "at least once every 12 months,".
(6) Clause 177, page 148 (after line 30), after subclause (2), insert:
(a) in a report mentioned in paragraph (1)(g), the Committee makes a recommendation in relation to the NACC's finances and resources; and
(b) the Minister decides not to follow the recommendation;
(c) the Minister must prepare a written statement of reasons for the decision not to follow the recommendation; and
(d) the Minister must cause a copy of the statement of reasons to be tabled in each House of the Parliament within 15 sittings days of that House after making the decision.
One of the common issues that emerged during the committee inquiry into this bill was that integrity bodies and other Australian jurisdictions are often not provided the resources that they need. I commend the government for allocating $260-odd million to the NACC in the most recent budget, but, once the NACC is up and running and will be potentially politically inconvenient to people in this place, there is always the risk that the government of the day will seek to reduce funding and to reduce the effectiveness of the NACC. Transparency is key here. This amendment will require the minister to table a statement of reasons if they deviate from the recommendations of the NACC joint select oversight committee in relation to the budget. This does not bind the government to giving them that money; it simply provides an extra piece of transparency so that Australians know if we are short-changing the body that is going to be tasked with holding people in these places, public servants and others, who are using valuable Australian resources that should be spent in the best interests of Australians, to account. I really believe that for the NACC to be independent and powerful it has to have the funding it needs, and I would really like more transparency around that process.
The CHAIR: Senator Shoebridge, you have a few seconds remaining before we hit the hard marker. In fact, we've hit the hard marker of 1.30 pm, so I have to report progress. My apologies, we will wait in anticipation for your contribution.