Wednesday, 24 February 2016
Establishment of a National Integrity Commission; Appointment
I, and also on behalf of Senator Madigan, move:
(1) That a select committee, to be known as the Select Committee relating to the establishment of a National Integrity Commission, be established to inquire into and report, on or before 22 September 2016, on the following matters:
(a) the adequacy of the Australian Government's legislative, institutional and policy framework in addressing all facets of institutional, organisational, political and electoral, and individual corruption and misconduct, with reference to:
(i) the effectiveness of the current federal and state/territory agencies and commissions in preventing, investigating and prosecuting corruption and misconduct,
(ii) the interrelation between federal and state/territory agencies and commissions, and
(iii) the nature and extent of coercive powers possessed by the various agencies and commissions, and whether those coercive powers are consistent with fundamental democratic principles;
(b) whether a national integrity commission should be established to address institutional, organisational, political and electoral, and individual corruption and misconduct, with reference to:
(i) the scope of coverage by any national integrity commission,
(ii) the legislative and regulatory powers required by any national integrity commission to enable effective operation,
(iii) the advantages and disadvantages associated with domestic and international models of integrity and anti-corruption commissions/agencies,
(iv) whether any national integrity commission should have broader educational powers,
(v) the necessity of any privacy and/or secrecy provisions,
(vi) any budgetary and resourcing considerations, and
(vii) any reporting accountability considerations; and
(c) any other related matter.
(a) participating members may be appointed to the committee on the nomination of the Leader of the Government in the Senate, the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate or any minority groups or independent senators;
(b) participating members may participate in hearings of evidence and deliberations of the committee, and have all the rights of members of the committee, but may not vote on any questions before the committee; and
(c) a participating member shall be taken to be a member of the committee for the purpose of forming a quorum of the committee if a majority of members of the committee is not present.
(4) That every nomination of a member of the committee be notified in writing to the President of the Senate.
(5) That the committee may proceed to the dispatch of business notwithstanding that not all members have been duly nominated and appointed and notwithstanding any vacancy.
(6) That Senator Wang is appointed chair.
(7) That the committee elect a member as its deputy chair, who shall act as chair when the chair is absent from a meeting of the committee or the position of chair is temporarily vacant.
(8) That the chair, or the deputy chair when acting as chair, may appoint another member of the committee to act as chair during the temporary absence of both the chair and deputy chair at a meeting of the committee.
(9) That, in the event of an equally divided vote, the chair, or the deputy chair when acting as chair, has the casting vote.
(10) That 3 members of the committee constitute a quorum of the committee.
(11) That the committee have power to appoint subcommittees consisting of 2 or more of its members, and to refer to any such subcommittee any of the matters which the committee is empowered to examine.
(12) That 2 members of a subcommittee constitute a quorum of that subcommittee.
(13) That members of the committee who are not members of a subcommittee may participate in the proceedings of that subcommittee but shall not vote, move any motion or be counted for the purpose of a quorum.
(14) That the committee and any subcommittee have power to send for and examine persons and documents, to move from place to place, to sit in public or in private, notwithstanding any prorogation of the Parliament or dissolution of the House of Representatives, and have leave to report from time to time its proceedings, the evidence taken and such interim recommendations as it may deem fit.
(15) That the committee be provided with all necessary staff, facilities and resources and be empowered to appoint persons with specialist knowledge for the purposes of the committee with the approval of the President.
(16) That the committee be empowered to print from day to day such papers and evidence as may be ordered by it, and a daily Hansard be published of such proceedings as take place in public.
The government has a zero tolerance approach to corruption and is committed to stamping out corruption in all its forms. We have a multifaceted approach to combating corruption. We are always looking at how we can strengthen that, rather than throwing the whole system out based on the presumption that a national anticorruption commission will be more effective. The Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity is responsible for preventing, detecting and investigating serious issues of corruption in federal law enforcement agencies. Furthermore, the Commonwealth Ombudsman performs an important function in investigating and auditing various agencies and functions. The Australian Federal Police also play a fundamental role in investigating serious corruption issues. The government will continue to take a strong approach to tackling corruption in all forms.
The suggestion from the government is that, if there is consent to postpone the motion, we could deal with it tomorrow. But it is up to the mover of the motion—if the mover wants to postpone the motion till tomorrow, if the amendment curries favour with the mover.