The National Integrity Commission Bill 2018 (Cth) (the “Bill”) was introduced to the House of Representatives on 26 November 2018, by Independent Member for Indi, Cathy McGowan MP.
The Bill proposes to amend the following pieces of Commonwealth legislation:
According to the Bill’s Explanatory Memorandum (the “EM’), the Bill:
The Explanatory Memorandum states that the Commission will build on the expertise and strengths of the(“ACLEI”) and best practice from within the integrity framework of other jurisdictions.
The aim of this Private Member's Bill is to establish the Australian National Integrity Commission (the “Commission”) as an independent, broad-based public sector anti-corruption commission for the Commonwealth. The principles of the Commission are to promote integrity and accountability, prevent, investigate and expose corruption, support development and implementation of a national integrity and anti-corruption plan, improve co-ordination and efficiency in the Commonwealth integrity system, and ensure protection of whistleblowers.
The Bill's Explanatory Memorandum says that it:
"incorporates aspects and builds on the work of others, including:
The intention of the Bill will be to create a nationally coordinated integrity framework, with an emphasis on prevention, supported by strong powers of investigation to enable criminal charges or other actions in response to cases of corruption.
The Parliamentary Joint Committee (to be assisted by a Parliamentary Inspector of the National Integrity Commission) will provide oversight of the Commission to ensure compliance with the law, due process and standards of probity. It will also be subject to judicial review by the Federal and High Courts of Australia.
The Bill’s Explanatory Memorandum states:
It is proposed the Commission will have the powers of a Royal Commission to investigate (where necessary), "corruption issues involving or affecting the Commonwealth Government, to be executed at the discretion of the Commissioner".
The Commission also proposes to include a Whistleblower Protection Commissioner, with the intent to deliver the Commission’s public advice and referral functions and partner with the Commonwealth Ombudsman and Australian Securities & Investments Commission (“ASIC”). It will act as the whistleblower protection authority for the Commonwealth public sector and Commonwealth-regulated private and not-for-profit sectors, as recommended by the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Corporations and Financial Services.
On 29 November, Senator Larissa Waters from the Greens introduced the National Integrity Commission Bill 2018 (No. 2) into the Senate. As outlined in the Bill's Explanatory Memorandum:
"This version of the National Integrity Bill, to be introduced in the Senate, is drafted using a bill of the same name introduced by Cathy McGowan MP in the House of Representatives with two major changes, namely to refine the definition of corrupt conduct and to limit investigations of corrupt conduct to the last ten years."
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National Integrity Commission Bill 2018 (Cth) - Bill and supporting information available from TimeBase's LawOne Service
National Integrity Commission Bill 2018 (No. 2) (Cth) - Bill and supporting information available from TimeBase's LawOne Service
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