A custom-built Commonwealth Integrity Commission is chief among three options presented in a new paper on anti-corruption reforms unveiled in Canberra today.
The report, titled ‘A National Integrity Commission – Options for Australia’ has been produced by the Griffith University-led Australian Research Council Linkage Project, Strengthening Australia’s National Integrity System: Priorities for Reform.
“Over the past two decades, the fact that Australia’s federal public integrity system is in dire need of reinforcement to better address the growing problem of corruption has become ever more apparent,” Professor Brown said.
“The options presented in the report are, in our opinion, the most impactful ways in which the existing system can be updated and extended to meet contemporary standards.”
Along with the custom-built commission – the most comprehensive among the report’s proffered solutions – the paper also recommends as potential options the establishment of an integrity and anti-corruption coordination council, as well as an independent commission against corruption.
Professor Brown said the options are not mutually exclusive; rather, they are “intended to stimulate a more concrete discussion on the direction, purpose, scope and shape of reform needed for Australia to regain its position in public integrity and anti-corruption”.
The past several years have not been kind to Australia’s perceived corruption level, with the nation having slipped eight points (and six ranks, from 7th to 13th) on Transparency International’s annual Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) since 2012.
“Australia’s declining CPI performance highlights the fall in confidence among the public in the national approach to anti-corruption,” Professor Brown said.
“These options are a key first step in getting the country back ahead of the national integrity curve, and it is essential that the government takes the chance to improve its own processes and perceptions, as well as national resilience, security, productivity and confidence.”
It arrives following the release of a special Global Corruption Barometer survey conducted by Griffith University and Transparency International Australia, which further delves into the declining national confidence in government.