New national anti-corruption watchdog needed

High Court Justice Stephen Gagelar addresses the TI 2017 conference

Acall to establish anationalanti-corruption commission with wide-ranging powers, is one of the key outcomes generated from the National Integrity Conference held in Brisbane this week.

Professor David Grant (Pro Vice Chancellor Business) welcomes attendees to the TI conference 2017

The conference,co-hosted byTransparency International Australia and Griffith University’s School of Government and International Relations, heard from an array of guest speakers, including High Court Justice Stephen Gageler, NAB whistleblower Dennis Gentilin and Queensland Attorney General Yvette D’Ath.

The two-day think tank ended with the release of a discussion paper canvassing key issues for the design of a federal anti-corruption commissionas part of a fresh assessment of Australia’s systems of integrity, accountability and anti-corruption.

Professor A J Brown, leader of the Australian Research Council Linkage Project ‘Strengthening Australia’s National Integrity System: Priorities for Reform’, said the paper will stimulate debate on the big questions about the purpose, role and powers of any new federal agency.

“With momentum gathering towards such a vital reform, it’s crucial that citizens and policymakers think seriously about these deep design issues,” Professor Brown said.

The paper includes perspectives from Transparency International Australia chairman Anthony Whealy QC, Flinders University Professor Adam Graycar and Professor Brown on the gaps and concerns in Australia’s institutions which are leading to calls for a new federal anti-corruption body.

“Sadly, Australia is a complacent nation when it comes to official corruption mainly because it’s not evident on the surface.

“Having a national anti-corruption agency will go a long way to addressing public concerns and bringing illicit behaviourout in the open”, Mr Whealy QC said.