House Passes National Anti-Corruption Commission Bills
Legislation to establish the Albanese Government's powerful, transparent and independent National Anti-Corruption Commission has passed the House.
I thank all the Members of the House for their commitment to this landmark reform to tackle corruption and restore trust and integrity to federal politics.
In doing so, they have respected the mandate given by the Australian people on May 21 to the Albanese Government to establish a powerful, transparent and independent National Anti-Corruption Commission to investigate serious or systemic corrupt conduct across the entire federal public sector.
The Albanese Government's National Anti-Corruption Commission is built on the following design principles:
- Broad jurisdiction: The Commission will have broad jurisdiction to investigate serious or systemic corrupt conduct across the Commonwealth public sector by ministers, parliamentarians and their staff, statutory officer holders, employees of all government entities and government contractors.
- Independent: The Commission will operate independent of government, with discretion to commence inquiries into serious or systemic corruption on its own initiative or in response to referrals, including from whistleblowers and the public.
- Oversight: The Commission will be overseen by a statutory Parliamentary Joint Committee, empowered to require the Commission to provide information about its work.
- Retrospective powers: The Commission will have the power to investigate allegations of serious or systemic corruption that occurred before or after its establishment.
- Public hearings: The Commission will have the power to hold public hearings in exceptional circumstances and where it is in the public interest to do so.
- Findings: The Commission will be empowered to make findings of fact, including findings of corrupt conduct, and refer findings that could constitute criminal conduct to the Australian Federal Police or the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions.
- Procedural fairness: The Commission will operate with procedural fairness and its findings will be subject to judicial review.
The legislation also provides strong protections for whistleblowers and exemptions for journalists to protect the identity of sources.
We now look forward to support from the Senate for passage of legislation this year to establish a National Anti-Corruption Commission with real power and authority.