Commonwealth Integrity Commission: Proposed Reforms
The submission to the Attorney General’s Department in response to the Australian Government’s Consultation Paper setting out the proposed model for establishing a new “Commonwealth Integrity Commission”. It is a positive step that the Government has agreed to establish a federal statutory commission to address the issue of corruption within the administration of the Commonwealth Government in both its law enforcement and public sector agencies.
The Law Council strongly supports the establishment of a national integrity commission. It is well recognised by the Law Council that corruption has many corrosive effects on society. It serves to undermine democracy and the rule of law as well as being capable of distorting market forces. The proposed model clearly seeks to further address Australia’s obligations as signatory of the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) to develop policies in relation to anticorruption.
The purpose of the Consultation Paper is to outline the current mechanisms in place to address issues of corruption, provide some detail on important aspects of the key reforms and to explain the rationale for the establishment and structure of the new “Commonwealth Integrity Commission” (the Commission or the CIC).
This submission comments on some of the key points raised in the Consultation Paper, namely:
- the scope of jurisdiction of both divisions of the Commission;
- the appropriateness of the coercive powers;
- the protection to be given to the both legal professional privilege and the privilege against self-incrimination;
- the appropriateness of private as opposed to public hearings;
- whether the federal judiciary should be subject to the jurisdiction of the Commission;
- the proposed amendments to the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth) (Criminal Code) and Crimes Act 1914 (Cth) (Crimes Act); and
- whether the model should incorporate other features such as “whistle blower protection” measures and a Parliamentary Integrity Commissioner or Adviser.
You can read the full submission below.