Tuesday, 11 September 2018
National Independent Commission Against Corruption
I, and also on behalf of Senators Hinch and Storer, move:
That the Senate—
(i) the notion that the Federal Government is less prone to corruption than its counterparts is not supported by evidence,
(ii) that the potential risks for corruption at a national level have increased significantly in recent years due to several factors including, but not limited to, increased government control of information, increased funding needs of political campaigns and the growth of the lobbying industry,
(iii) that these risks are not currently being adequately mitigated through offence provisions, public sector standards or supervision by various regulatory bodies, and
(iv) that, in the most recent Corruption Perceptions Index, Australia was ranked 13th out of 168 countries;
(b) notes that:
(i) a national independent commission against corruption should be established,
(ii) this independent commission should be called the National Independent Commission Against Corruption (NICAC), and
(iii) NICAC should follow the recommendations of Griffith University, namely, that the national commission act as a peak body through which all Commonwealth integrity and corruption complaints can be lodged; and
(c) calls on the Federal Government to begin the implementation of NICAC as soon as possible, so that all Australians can have confidence in the integrity of their Parliament, government and public institutions.
Labor agree with the concerns about corruption in the federal public sector raised by Senator Hinch in paragraph (a) of this motion. However, Labor announced in January this year that, if elected, we would establish a national integrity commission. At the same time, Labor outlined that body's key design principles. Labor have zero tolerance for corruption and we reiterate our commitment that, if elected, Labor will establish a national integrity commission within 12 months of taking office.
Of the 20 highest ranking countries in Transparency International's corruption perceptions index, only Singapore at sixth and Hong Kong, equal with Australia at 13th, have national independent anticorruption commissions. New Zealand, which ranks first, Canada, which ranks eighth, the United Kingdom, which also ranks eighth, and the US, which ranks 16th, do not have national anticorruption commissions. In considering ways to enhance Australia's ability to combat corruption, it's important to carefully assess what might strengthen our current robust approach rather than discard a system on the presumption that a single agency will somehow be more effective.