1. The Australian Council of Trade Unions (‘ACTU’) makes the following submission to the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee Inquiry into the National Integrity Commission Bill 2018, National Integrity (Parliamentary Standards) Bill 2018, and National Integrity Commission Bill 2018 (No.2).
2. The ACTU is the peak body representing approximately 1.6 Million working Australians. The ACTU and its affiliated unions have a long and proud history of fighting for workers’ interests and defending Australia’s democratic institutions.
3. The ACTU supports the establishment of a Federal independent Commission against corruption with a broad mandate, effective powers and adequate safeguards against partisan abuse.
4. The case for a Federal anti-corruption body is undeniable. Our current framework fails to prevent corrupting influences on our political processes and the operation of government.
Well known, for example, is the endemic corrupting influence of the tobacco lobby, gambling concerns, tax avoiding companies, and property developers. These influences undermine good government and merit-based policy and decision making.
5. It is also clear that there is a need for better whistle-blower protections for those who speak out about corruption and malpractice. At present, there is a strong disincentive for whistleblowers
to come forward, given the lack of protection and potential risk to their careers and reputations.
6. Reform is also required to ensure higher standards of parliamentary conduct, given the seemingly never-ending incidences of parliamentary travel and other rorting and conflicts of interest scandals that are continually coming to light.
7. Hence, we support the measures aimed at addressing these problems in the proposed suite of draft legislation. The focus of our submissions is on the proposed National Integrity
Commission. Below, we make some suggestions as to how the proposed model may be enhanced to help ensure the Commission remains strictly independent and impeccably