Every state and territory in Australia has its own anti-corruption commission and Labor believes it is now long past time for a Commonwealth body to be established to tackle corruption in the federal government.
Labor believes the time is long past for a National Anti-Corruption Commission to be established, and an Albanese Labor Government will give priority to introducing legislation to establish such a body.
The National Anti-Corruption Commission established by Labor will operate with all the independence, resources and powers of a standing Royal Commission into serious and systemic corruption in the federal government.
Labor has been working with Australia’s preeminent legal and integrity experts to develop design principles that will ensure the Commission is the most effective anti-corruption watchdog in the country.
Under these design principles, the Commission will:
- have broad jurisdiction to investigate Commonwealth ministers, public servants, statutory office holders, government agencies, parliamentarians, and personal staff of politicians;
- carry out its functions independently of government, with discretion to commence inquiries into serious and systemic corruption on its own initiative or in response to referrals, including from whistleblowers and complaints from the public. To ensure the Commission’s independence, the Commissioner and any Deputy Commissioner would serve for a single fixed term and have security of tenure comparable to that of a federal judge;
- be overseen by a statutory bipartisan Joint Standing Committee of the Parliament, empowered to require the Commission to provide information about its work. To ensure bipartisan support for the Commission’s work, that Committee would be responsible for confirming the Commissioners nominated by the Government;
- have the power to investigate allegations of serious and systemic corruption that occurred before or after its establishment;
have the power to hold public hearings where the Commission determines it is in the public interest to do so;
- be empowered to make findings of fact, including a finding of corrupt conduct, but not to make determinations of criminal liability. Findings that could constitute criminal conduct would be referred to the Australian Federal Police or the Commonwealth Department of Public Prosecutions for further consideration;
- and operate with procedural fairness and its findings would be subject to judicial review.