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NATIONAL INTEGRITY COMMISSIONER BILL 2010
- Parl No.
- Question No.
Brown, Sen Bob
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- Start of Business
RENEWABLE ENERGY (ELECTRICITY) AMENDMENT BILL 2010
RENEWABLE ENERGY (ELECTRICITY) (CHARGE) AMENDMENT BILL 2010
RENEWABLE ENERGY (ELECTRICITY) (SMALL-SCALE TECHNOLOGY SHORTFALL CHARGE) BILL 2010
- In Committee
- QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE
- DISTINGUISHED VISITORS
QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE
(Farrell, Sen Don, Conroy, Sen Stephen)
(Bernardi, Sen Cory, Evans, Sen Chris)
(Wortley, Sen Dana, Sherry, Sen Nick)
Council of Australian Governments
(Payne, Sen Marise, Evans, Sen Chris)
(Brown, Sen Bob, Wong, Sen Penny)
(Birmingham, Sen Simon, Conroy, Sen Stephen)
(Moore, Sen Claire, Arbib, Sen Mark)
(Ronaldson, Sen Michael, Ludwig, Sen Joe)
- QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE: ADDITIONAL ANSWERS
- PERSONAL EXPLANATIONS
- QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE: TAKE NOTE OF ANSWERS
- PERSONAL EXPLANATIONS
- NATIONAL INTEGRITY COMMISSIONER BILL 2010
- DOUBLE DISSOLUTION
- MILLENNIUM DEVELOPMENT GOALS
- TRANSITION TO RENEWABLE ENERGY
- MANDATORY VEHICLE FUEL EFFICIENCY STANDARDS
- WASTE MANAGEMENT STUDY
- VISIT OF THE VICE PRESIDENT OF THE PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF CHINA
- DALAI LAMA AND TIBET
- CONTRIBUTION OF REFUGEES TO AUSTRALIAN SOCIETY
- WATER SUPPLY FOR ADELAIDE
- GOVERNMENT ADVERTISING
- MOTOR NEURONE DISEASE
- ENERGY EFFICIENT HOMES PACKAGE
- MATTERS OF PUBLIC IMPORTANCE
- MINISTERIAL STATEMENTS
APPROPRIATION (PARLIAMENTARY DEPARTMENTS) BILL (NO. 1) 2010-2011
APPROPRIATION BILL (NO. 1) 2010-2011
APPROPRIATION BILL (NO. 2) 2010-2011
CORPORATIONS AMENDMENT (CORPORATE REPORTING REFORM) BILL 2010
FINANCIAL SECTOR LEGISLATION AMENDMENT (PRUDENTIAL REFINEMENTS AND OTHER MEASURES) BILL 2010
NATIONAL HEALTH AMENDMENT (CONTINENCE AIDS PAYMENT SCHEME) BILL 2010
TAX LAWS AMENDMENT (2010 GST ADMINISTRATION MEASURES NO. 3) BILL 2010
TERRITORIES LAW REFORM BILL 2010
- AUDITOR-GENERAL’S REPORTS
- Intelligence and Security Committee
- Procedure Committee
- Corporations and Financial Services Committee
- Treaties Committee
- Privileges Committee
- Privileges Committee
- Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee
- Migration Committee
- Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee
- AVIATION TRANSPORT SECURITY AMENDMENT REGULATIONS 2010 (NO. 1)
- WILD RIVERS (ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT) BILL 2010 (NO.2)
- Brisbane: Homelessness
- Learn. Earn. Legend!
- Climate Change
- Food Security
- Paid Parental Leave
World War II: Papua New Guinea Campaign
- Miss Muriel Matters
Paid Parental Leave
- QUESTIONS ON NOTICE
Tuesday, 22 June 2010
Senator BOB BROWN (Leader of the Australian Greens) (3:48 PM) —I present the explanatory memorandum and move:
That this bill be now read a second time.
I seek leave to have the second reading speech incorporated in Hansard.
The speech read as follows—
The National Integrity Commissioner Bill 2010 creates a national integrity and anti-corruption commission through the establishment of the National Office of Integrity Commissioner, comprising three elements - the National Integrity Commission, the existing Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity (ACLEI) and a new Office of the Independent Parliamentary Advisor. The National Integrity Commission is established as an independent statutory agency.
This Bill provides in a comprehensive legislative framework, a critical addition to the national integrity system through the establishment of a National Integrity Commission to enable the investigation and prevention of misconduct and corruption in all Commonwealth departments, agencies, federal parliamentarians and their staff. The Bill brings together and co-locates this function with the independent oversight functions of the Law Enforcement Integrity Commission for the investigation and prevention of corruption in the Australian Federal Police and the Australian Crimes Commission, thus creating an integrated federal approach to misconduct and corruption in the parliament and public service. Additionally the Bill establishes the role of the Independent Parliamentary Advisor with the purpose of preventing inadvertent misconduct and impropriety by parliamentarians, thereby promoting informed and ethical conduct.
There is currently no national anti-corruption agency with the powers or the jurisdiction to investigate claims of misconduct and corruption across the Federal Parliament or Commonwealth agencies. This is an essential component for the prevention of corruption and maintenance and promotion of integrity and ethical conduct in the toolkit of all jurisdictions. The argument that the existing agencies and mechanisms are sufficient or appropriate for fighting graft ignores the important role of prevention, the promotion of ethical conduct, and the integration of integrity systems across federal and state jurisdictions.
Prior to the establishment of the Commonwealth Law Enforcement Integrity Commissioner in 2006, there were calls that its role be extended beyond investigating and preventing corruption in federal law enforcement agencies. In particular, the federal police and lower House Independent, the late Peter Andren, wanted it to be expanded to include politicians and public officials. These calls were not heeded but this Bill addresses that oversight.
The National Integrity Commission will operate in the federal jurisdiction and will not replace or over-ride state legislation. The Bill provides for the ACT and Northern Territory to contract the National Integrity Commission to operate in respect of their territories, in the same way that the Commonwealth Ombudsman acts as the ACT Ombudsman.
The national commission established by this Bill will complement the state-based anti-corruption commissions. The need to address corruption is evident in the fact that all Australian states, with the exception of South Australia, have established, or have committed to establishing, anti-corruption bodies with various powers and jurisdictions. Importantly they all include the power to investigate the activities of politicians. Victoria most recently announced the creation of the Victorian Integrity and Anti-Corruption Commission. In other states, anti-corruption commissions have been operating for decades - The Independent Commission Against Corruption in NSW was established in 1988; The Crime and Misconduct Commission in Queensland was established in 2001; The Corruption and Crime Commission in Western Australia was established in 2004 and The Integrity Commission in Tasmania established in 2009. The Commissions of New South Wales, Queensland and Western Australia have played a pivotal role in uncovering, investigation and prosecuting in landmark cases of corruption in these states. The evidence of the powerful and effective work of these bodies reinforces the necessity for a similar mechanism at the federal level of Australian politics.
The Bill provides a definition of “corrupt conduct” as including any conduct that:
- adversely affects the honest or impartial exercise of functions by the Parliament, a Commonwealth agency or public officials by any person;
- involves the dishonest exercise of functions by a public official;
- involves a breach of public trust by a public official;
- perverts the course of justice;
- involves the misuse of information or material by a public official.
It lists kinds of “corrupt conduct”, such as blackmail, bribery and fraud, for the purposes of adversely affecting the exercise of functions by the Parliament, a Commonwealth agency or public officials, and provides for retrospectivity in that the National Integrity Commissioner can investigate corrupt conduct that occurred before the commencement of the Bill or before a person became a public official or outside Australia. Importantly the Bill provides the capacity to investigate cases where corrupt conduct is foreseeable in the future making the National Integrity Commissioner’s role proactive in addressing corruption. Furthermore, it is clear in this Bill that investigations of corruption can be commenced even if the identity of the public official alleged to be engaging in corrupt conduct is unknown. This ensures that corruption issues cannot be ignored because the person concerned has not been identified at the outset.
The Bill sets out the specific functions and powers of the three component parts of the National Integrity Commission. The first is the National Integrity Commissioner. It is concerned with corruption in relation to public officials and Commonwealth agencies and has full investigative powers, including conducting public and private hearings and summoning any person or agency to produce documents and appear before the Commissioner. The provisions in the Bill in relation to the National Integrity Commissioner - including those dealing with corruption issues, conducting investigations, holding public inquiries, including powers requiring people to give evidence or produce documents, taking evidence at hearings, and applying for and executing search warrants - are based on similar provisions in the Law Enforcement Integrity Commissioner Act 2006.
The second component part deals with the Law Enforcement Integrity Commissioner. It is concerned with corruption in relation to national law enforcement agencies in accordance with the Law Enforcement Integrity Commissioner Act 2006 and has the functions and powers conferred under that Act.
Third component part of the Bill is the Independent Parliamentary Advisor. It is concerned with providing independent confidential written advice to ministers, parliamentarians, and former parliamentarians in relation to conflict of interest, ethics, proprietary and similar matters and providing advice on the development of codes of conduct. There are many instances where the rules or guidelines governing the conduct of federal parliamentarians are not clear or sufficiently detailed. Often the advice from relevant departments leaves it to the discretion of the politician. The lack of clarity and direction in these cases leaves parliamentarians unnecessarily vulnerable to inadvertent misconduct, with consequent serious penalties.
The Bill provides for written advice on such instances where the guidelines are unclear, or where claims of misconduct are made against a parliamentarian who has sought to follow the guidelines. The existence of such a body would help Australian federal parliamentarians to avoid the type of systemic misconduct seen recently in parliaments overseas as well an increase the ethical standing of federal parliamentarians generally.
This Bill provides the legislative framework for a comprehensive proactive and responsive national approach to corruption and misconduct. At a time when the Australian public are increasingly sceptical and mistrustful of its federal politicians and public servants, the National Integrity Commissioner Bill provides a bulwark against its concerns now and into the future.
I therefore commend this Bill to the Senate.
Senator BOB BROWN —I seek leave to continue my remarks later.
Leave granted; debate adjourned.