Labor stands for integrity and transparency in government, and we have zero tolerance for corruption.
During Labor’s time in Government there was no clear evidence of corruption at a Commonwealth level which would have justified the establishment of a new national integrity commission, such as a federal ICAC. Rather, Labor governments supported improving existing Commonwealth anti-corruption efforts, so as to make it easier to prevent, detect and respond to corruption. In particular, Labor governments have always strongly supported existing anti-corruption agencies including the Australian National Audit Office, the Australian Public Service Commission, the Commonwealth Ombudsman, the Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity, the Australian Federal Police, the Australian Crime Commission (now called the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission) and other law enforcement and accountability measures which together help to create a culture of integrity in the Commonwealth public sector. In addition, Labor took a National Anti-Corruption Plan to the last election.
With a succession of scandals involving Abbott and Turnbull government ministers over recent years, Labor believes that further steps may need to be taken to ensure integrity in federal politics.
Last year Labor supported the establishment of a Senate Select Committee on the Establishment of a National Integrity Commission. The Liberal Government opposed it. Unfortunately that Committee was unable to complete its work before Mr Turnbull rushed to an early election.
Labor will now move to re-establish that Committee so that it can continue its work, hearing from the public and legal experts and rigorously examining the pros and cons of various means to better ensure integrity in federal politics. In particular, the new Committee will need to closely examine how any new national integrity commission would work effectively within the existing architecture of Commonwealth anti-corruption agencies and measures.
Labor will be in a position to announce a final position in relation to a federal integrity commission once the proposed new Senate Committee has completed its inquiry and we have had an opportunity to carefully examine its findings.