The of the Morrison government Commonwealth Integrity Commission is said to be the country’s weakest anti-corruption body, according to the Center for Public Integrity.
In a report released Wednesday, the independent thinktank notes that the proposed CIC would lack the powers to investigate corruption that falls short of criminal conduct, open its own investigations, hold public hearings, and ascertain the facts.
The shortcomings have been well-aired since the government published its bill in November 2020, including from a Guardian Australia investigation in July that found the CIC would not have the power to investigate dozens of integrity disputes. , expenses and pork cane.
The CIC debate has renewed political relevance as prime minister, Scott Morrison, made virtue of the softer approach in the light of the NSW premier by Gladys Berejiklian resignation.
On Tuesday the Greens and the Independents Helen Haines he signaled that they will seek to strengthen the federal CIC model and force a debate on a private member’s bill for a body with broader powers.
The Center for Public Integrity found that the proposals of the Greens, Haines and Labor all had stronger anti-corruption powers than the coalition model.
According to the report, NSW and Queensland anti-corruption bodies are the strongest in the country because they have the ability to:
- Investigate those outside the public service who seek to unduly influence public decision-making
- Investigate alleged corrupt behavior that is not part of criminal conduct
- Initiating investigations without meeting a probationary threshold, which means investigations are used to determine if misconduct has occurred
- Initiate official investigations
- Hold public hearings if in the public interest; And
The CIC has a narrower scope – because it excludes anyone outside the public sector who dishonestly or improperly influences decision-making – and sets a higher level for corruption because alleged public sector wrongdoing can only be investigated if it constitutes a crime.
Morrison said Wednesday that CIC would have “trials assuming people are innocent before they are found guilty,” wrongly implying that NSW’s ICAC does not grant the presumption of innocence.
Asked whether the ICAC should be reformed, Morrison said the NSW model “is certainly not a model we would ever consider federally, and I think it has been shown for some time.”
He said millions of people would “understand it’s a good idea” given Berejiklian’s resignation ahead of the ICAC hearings to investigate whether she was involved in a “breach of public trust” between 2012 and 2018 due to her relationship with former MP Wagga Wagga Daryl Maguire.
The Deputy Attorney General, Amanda Stoker, said the ICAC proceedings have “seen lives destroyed by trivialities, careers ended by investigations that went nowhere, and the tarnishing of the reputations of people who appear as witnesses, not suspects, only to find themselves painted guilty in the public eye gives their mere appearance “.
Stoker said the government wants the bill in parliament before the end of the year. There is no guarantee that the CIC will be legislated. If the Senate amends the bill to tighten it up, the government could block it or block it in the lower house.
[ https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/live/2021/oct/06/australia-news-live-update-victoria-covid-cases-nsw-vaccination-target-perrottet-andrews-palaszczuk https://d26toa8f6ahusa.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/30214746/a-quiet-place-part-2-bigs-16.pdf