Tuesday, 11 September 2018
Questions without Notice
My question is for the Minister representing the Prime Minister, Senator Cormann. I was a member of the select committee which recommended a Commonwealth agency to address crime and corruption matters at the federal level. Minister, every state has established a similar agency. Labor has affirmed its support for a commission, and Australians across the country have made it unequivocally clear that now more than ever the government needs to be held to higher standards. What is the new Prime Minister's position on the urgent need for a national ICAC?
The government's position hasn't changed. Of course, we share the commitment right around the chamber that corruption must be fought everywhere, and we have effective law enforcement bodies in place, with clear responsibilities, to enforce compliance with the laws and to ensure that any corrupt activity is identified and dealt with appropriately.
Despite that answer, the Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity, the Commonwealth Auditor-General and the Commonwealth Ombudsman have all identified misconduct of ministers and parliamentarians as the largest and clearest gap in the so-called multiagency framework. Now that we've got a new Prime Minister, how long will it take him to adopt a policy to take action on the urgent need for a national ICAC?
Senator Hinch is quite right: the government does have a robust, multifaceted framework to combat corruption in the Australian Public Service. Under this framework, multiple agencies have responsibilities for preventing, detecting and responding to corruption—for example, the Australian Federal Police are, of course, responsible for the Fraud and Anti-Corruption Centre, which has expertise in investigating serious and complex corruption offences, including fraud, foreign bribery and certain APS offences. The Commonwealth Ombudsman considers and investigates complaints where people believe they have been treated unfairly by an Australian government department.
Australian Public Service census data consistently indicates a very high perceived standard of ethical behaviour across the Australian government. The government is always looking at how we can strengthen our current approach to combatting corruption. The government does not presume a single agency will be more effective in combatting corruption than the current approach.