Following the resignation of Gladys Berejiklian over the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) inquiry, debate is heating up about the federal government’s proposed – but weak – Federal Integrity Commission.
Stephen Charles, a former Victorian judge who is director of the Center for Public Integrity, says the Coalition should completely rework its draft model to give it real power in dealing with politicians and public servants.
Pointing out that under the government draft, investigations into politicians would not have a public hearing, Charles asks, “What does this tell you about their concern about their activities? and […] Remember that this alliance has shown that it is ready to spend hundreds of thousands and millions of dollars. […] For his own electoral benefit rather than for the public interest. “
“Australia is a signatory to the United Nations Convention against Corruption. Article 36 of that convention requires Australia to have an effective body to combat corruption, and those of us arguing for a national integrity body have long Pointing to Australia’s failure to comply with its obligations under UNCAC in a timely manner.”
Charles agrees with the need to stop the Integrity Commission being used by political players for their own purposes. “These powers should not be allowed to make weapons by them” […] The political party in power at that time.”
“The body must be under the control of the judicial system, which in this case would mean under the control of the federal court” […] There should be an inspector, and then there should be a parliamentary committee, whose activities should be constantly reviewed. With those protections, abuse can be prevented, Charles says.