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Strengthen the national anti-corruption framework

What are your views on strengthening the national anti-corruption framework?

Lead implementing agency/actor

Attorney-General’s Department

Commitment

What is the public problem that the commitment will address?

The frameworks, laws and reporting channels that make up the dispersed and multi-faceted national anti-corruption framework are not well understood. The 2017 Senate Select Committee on a National Integrity Commission recommended the current system be strengthened to make it more ‘coherent, comprehensible and accessible’ and give ‘careful consideration to establishing a Commonwealth agency with broad scope and jurisdiction to address integrity and corruption matters’.

The Government is committed to addressing corruption wherever it occurs, and to increasing public awareness of and confidence in our systems to prevent, detect and combat corruption. There is concern from some sectors that corruption in the public sector is not being adequately addressed. There may be opportunities to strengthen the existing framework to ensure it functions more effectively and more cohesively, to better communicate the functions and agencies that make up the national anti-corruption framework, and/or improve trust and confidence in the framework.

What is the commitment?

The Government will continue to consider and assess all options for strengthening the national anti-corruption framework to:

  • ensure that sectors and activities vulnerable to corruption are covered
  • improve the framework’s coherence, effectiveness and functioning, and
  • better communicate the framework.

We will do this by analysing the coverage afforded at present by relevant government departments, agencies and other bodies and identifying any significant gaps in their jurisdiction, functions and resources. Our intention will be to continue to ensure the national anti-corruption framework is comprehensive, cohesive and effective.

How will the commitment contribute to solve the public problem?

This commitment will involve the Government continuing to review the national integrity framework and assess all options to ensure public sector accountability and anti-corruption mechanisms are integrated, cohesive, effective and accessible. 

Why is this commitment relevant to OGP values?

This commitment will advance the OGP values of transparency and public accountability by:

  • improving the transparency and accessibility of information on anti-corruption policies and practices, and
  • enhancing anti-corruption and public accountability mechanisms.

Additional information

The Government will consider available research and information, including the Australian Research Council Linkage Project LP160100267 (2016-2019) Strengthening Australia's national integrity system: priorities for reform being led by Griffith University, Transparency International Australia and others.

Milestones

Milestone Activity with a verifiable deliverable

Start Date: End Date:

Government response to the Report of the Senate Select Committee on a National Integrity Commission

Q3 2018 Q4 2018

Civic engagement in ongoing review of the national integrity framework

Q3 2018 Q4 2018

Implement Government response to the Report of the Senate Select Committee on a National Integrity Commission and any other outcomes of ongoing review of the national integrity framework

 

Q4 2018
    

Q2 2020

Contacts

Criminal Law Section, Attorney-General’s Department: anticorruption@ag.gov.au

Other actors involved 

State actors: Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity, Australian National Audit Office, Australian Public Service Commission, Commonwealth Ombudsman, Australian Federal Police, Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (Majority of federal agencies), relevant state and territory agencies (for example, anti-corruption agencies).

CSOs, private sector, multilaterals, working groups: Transparency International Australia, National Integrity Committee, The Australia Institute, Australian Research Council Linkage Project LP160100267 (2016-2019) Strengthening Australia's national integrity system: priorities for reform (Griffith University), the Accountability Round Table, Australian Open Government Partnership Civil Society Network, Law Council of Australia, other relevant non-government and private sector stakeholders (for example, compliance, advisory and law firms).

Discussion question

Is this draft commitment specific, relevant, and ambitious?

 

To participate, you’ll need to register for an account. You’ll then be able to respond to the questions under each of the proposed themes, leave a general comment or respond to those of other participants, and vote on comments.

We expect your comments to be respectful and relevant. As comments are moderated, they won’t appear until they’ve been approved. If, after submission, you do not receive a notification stating that your comment has been queued for review, your submission has not been successfully transmitted to us. In this case, please email your submission to ogp@pmc.gov.au and we will publish it on your behalf. Comments will close 8 July.

If you wish to make a longer submission, you can email us at ogp@pmc.gov.au. We’ll publish all submissions we receive.

The outputs from this and the face-to-face consultations will be made available to the Open Government Forum. At its meeting in July, the Forum will be asked to consider feedback and make final recommendations to government on the form of Australia's second Open Government National Action Plan 2018-20.

Submissions and comments received via email

Comment

 

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Andrew Livermore

The notion above that the government is committed to addressing corruption wherever it occurs simply isn't true. Corruption, working outside laws, codes and acts and avoidance of corruption matters are common through departments such as the APS commissioner, the AFP, commonwealth ombudsman, department of human services, the attorney general and office of PM&C. Enforcement of laws and codes simply doesn't exist. Ministers of parliament are also involved in dismissing criminal activity in their relevant portfolios.

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Michelle Falstein

I agree that a National Integrity Commission be established with the ability to investigate the conduct of any person the adversely affects the impartial exercise of public administration.
Hand in hand with this however is the ability for whistleblowers to be able to make complaints that can be investigated without fear of their safety or their careers being jeopardised. Reporting should be facilitated by having an independent level within brabches of the public service that are accessible ti individuals wishing to make a complaint.

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Open Government...

The Canberra consultation to finalise the National Action Plan were held on 27 June and were attended by four participants from civil society. The following comments below were received from participants on this draft commitment.

 

 

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Open Government...

The Melbourne consultation to finalise the National Action Plan were held on 29 June and were attended by 23 participants from civil society. The following comments below were received from participants on this draft commitment. 

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Peter Timmins

"Consider and assess all options for strengthening the national anti-corruption framework" is not a commitment to an outcome or any reform whatsoever. The Independent Review Report recommended commitments in the second plan "should be more specific in committing to particular substantive outcomes."

Dr Colleen Lewis in her submission provides an excellent summary of what is known and widely accepted as the substantive outcome we should commit to:: the establishment of a national anti corruption or integrity commission.

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Open Government...

Dr Colleen Lewis has provided the comments below:

  • The current framework is the result of an add-on set of arrangements that is not well understood and which results in an unsatisfactory model/framework for reacting to and preventing corruption in the federal public sector.
  • The agencies currently involved in the framework do not, by themselves, nor together, undertake the functions that one hopes would be fulfilled by a single national anti-corruption body.
  • Agencies with anti-corruption responsibilities such as ACLEI may have particular responsibilities and powers, but they are inadequately resourced to effectively undertake their functions. What is required is a well-resourced "one stop approach" to an anti-corruption body and not the current piecemeal arrangement. 
  • There is an overuse of ambiguous, non-action words in this commitment, such as the phrases ‘some sectors’; ‘there may be opportunities’; ‘government will continue to assess all options’; and ‘will continue to ensure that it is comprehensive, cohesive and effective’. The wording understates the ample opportunity for results-oriented actions that improve the current model (s) and respond positively to the widespread community support for a single anti-corruption body tasked not merely with investigating but also preventing corruption.
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