The ACTU makes this submission to the Joint Select Committee on National Anti-Corruption Commission Legislation which is currently inquring into and reporting on:

  • The National Anti-Corruption Bill 2022 (NACC Bill); and
  • The National Anti-Corruption Comission (Consquential and Transitional Provisions) Bill 2022 (NACC Consequential Bill).

Measures to enhance integrity and to identify and address corruption are critical to the effective functioning of government.  Trust is at the heart of our system of represenative government.  As the OECD notes:

Integrity is a crutial determinant of trust.  Evidence suggests a link between trust in politicians, both from the business community and citizens, and the perception of corruption.

Integrity policies, aimed at preventing corruption and fostering high standards of behaviour, help to reinforce the credibility and legitimacy of those involved in policy decision making, safeguarding the public interest and restoring confidence in the policy making process.

The World Bank has estimated that corruption globally costs $2.6 trillion (USD), or 5% of global GDP.  Public corruption hampers public trust, economic growth and effective political decision making.  It affects the process of government, faith in that process and consequently the authority with which decisions are made.  But corruption in government doesn’t just damage democracy itself, it also leads to poor social outcomes.  There is a correlation between corruption in government and failures to observe human rights – the relationship being a vicious cycle in which corruption weakens a government’s ability to respect, protect and fulfil human rights, leading to their abuse and overall democractic decline which then further enables greater levels of corruption.  Extreme examples of widespread corruption can be a serious impediment to national development and contribute to poverty and inequality.

Critical to the success of anti-corruption initiatives is the existence of a strong politial will in favour of doing so.  Federal parliamentarians and some sections of the business community have long resisted the establishment of a national anti-corruption commission.  It is a brave Government that creates laws to hold itself accountable.  We commend this Government for acting on its promise to do so.

Workers need a government that will govern in their public interests, they rely on public serices that are delivered with integrity and, they need a system that has accountability at its core.

The ACTU supports measures that address corruption, enhance accountability and help to build public confidence.  We welcome the introduction of National Anti-Corruption legislation and urge the Joint Select Committee to recommend its passage.