Labor stands for integrity and transparency in government, and we have zero tolerance for corruption.
It has been eight months since Bill Shorten announced Labor’s plan to legislate for a National Integrity Commission within 12 months of taking government, should we win the next election. Since that announcement, momentum and popular support for a federal anti-corruption body has only increased.
Despite reaching out to former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and current Prime Minister Scott Morrison in a genuine request for bipartisanship, the government has not supported this initiative and has avoided giving an indication of its position.
Labor’s announcement included seven detailed design principles, including that the National Integrity Commission will have all the powers of a standing Royal Commission, will be an independent statutory body, and would be overseen by a joint standing committee of the Parliament.
However, we will not presume to design this new body entirely from opposition, and will instead form an expert advisory panel immediately upon winning government.
Trust in politics is historically low. Recent events, including the dumping of another first-term Prime Minister, have not helped. There is a point at which this voter disenchantment will become dangerous for our democracy – and we need to act before that happens.
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.
We make no criticism of the existing federal agencies who have responsibility for anti-corruption work. However we believe there is now a case for a single, overarching body at the federal level, an effective standing royal commission against corruption which can address gaps in the existing system.
If you are a supporter of Labor’s plans for a National Integrity Commission, you can sign and share our petition, at https://www.alp.org.au/support_the_nic.