Centre Alliance backs National Integrity Commission

Centre Alliance backs National Integrity Commission

Federal Member for Mayo Rebekha Sharkie has today seconded a Private Member’s Bill calling on the Government to set up a National Integrity Commission.

Photo: Federal Member for Mayo Rebekha Sharkie talks about a National Integrity Commission at a press conference with members of the crossbench and representatives from Transparency International Australia.

The National Integrity Commission Bill 2018 was introduced by the Independent Member for Indi Cathy McGowan and is part of a package of legislation to promote public trust and confidence in the integrity of Parliament, the public sector and the system of Government.

“This is something I and my Centre Alliance colleagues, the crossbench and indeed the Australian people have been advocating for some time,” Rebekha said.

“I was pleased to second Cathy’s Bill and I was later encouraged when the House of Representatives passed on the voices a motion from the Senate calling for the national anti-corruption commission.

“I now call on the Government to support a referral of the Bill to a parliamentary committee.

"Next week my colleague Senator Rex Patrick will move for the establishment of a committee."

The Member for Indi’s Bill seeks to establish the Australian National Integrity Commission as an independent, broad-based public sector anti-corruption commission for the Commonwealth.

Its aim is to promote integrity and accountability; prevent, investigate and expose corruption; support development and implementation of a national integrity and anti-corruption plan; improve coordination and efficiency in the Commonwealth integrity system, and ensure the protection of whistleblowers.

The Commission will lead a strong and embedded corruption prevention program for the Commonwealth public sector and will enhance the existing Commonwealth multi-agency integrity system.

It will have the powers of a Royal Commission to investigate, where necessary, corruption issues involving or affecting the Commonwealth Government; and to hold a public inquiry or public hearings.

“If this parliament does not take a stand against corruption, then what message are we sending to the Australian people?” Rebekha said.

“That message is that we believe in this Federal Parliament there is nothing to see, that somehow we are immune from the same failings that have already been exposed at a state level and in our banks and in our churches.

“We are also saying that we condone and accept the consequences of corruption—that we as a nation have no issue with nepotism, undue influence or the misuse of public funds.

“If this government fails to establish a national integrity commission, they are contributing to the erosion of public trust and confidence, and we cannot allow this to happen.

“We all know that sunlight is, indeed, the best disinfectant. We have a number of weeks left to go. Let's use the will of the Parliament to do this.”