Independent candidate for the seat of Wentworth, Dr Kerryn Phelps, has thrown her support behind a plan by former judges and anti-corruption advocates to establish a National Integrity Commission.
The Australia Institute’s National Integrity Committee last week released its implementation plan for a National Integrity Commission, which includes a broad jurisdiction and strong investigative powers, including public hearings.
“A National Integrity Commission with broad jurisdiction and strong investigative powers is needed to help restore faith in our public institutions and democratic processes,” Dr Phelps said.
“The Liberal Government has so far resisted calls for an anti-corruption body and while the ALP has shown leadership on this issue, its plan does not go far enough.
“It is vital that Independent candidates and members of Parliament lead by example to ensure the future integrity and confidence in our democracy.”
Dr Phelps said Australians have recently experienced scandals that have rocked their security and trust in national institutions, including the federal parliament.
“We’ve seen a revolving door of Prime Ministers without proper explanation, what appears to be government interference in the editorial independence of the ABC and suggestions of impropriety in the Great Barrier Reef grant to name a few,” Dr Phelps said.
“Why is there resistance from the Government when citizens are demanding transparency and accountability?”
The National Integrity Commission, designed by a committee of senior judicial figures, will act as an independent overseer of Federal parliamentarian and staff, government agencies and those outside government attempting to corruptly influence public officials.
It will encompass existing law enforcement integrity agencies, have broad powers to accept complaints in any form, including anonymous complaints, and will allow the commissioner to make independent decisions to undertake investigations.