Commonwealth Integrity Commission Consultation Draft
The submission to the Attorney-General's Department in response to the Commonwealth Integrity Commission (CIC/Commission) consultation draft was prepared by the Law Council of Australia.
The consultation draft bills (draft legislation) comprise the Commonwealth Integrity Commission Bill 2020 (CIC Bill) (which establishes the CIC) and the Integrity and AntiCorruption Legislation Amendment (CIC Establishment and Other Measures) Bill 2020 (which makes consequential amendments to various Acts). Due to timing constraints, the Law Council has restricted its analysis to the CIC Bill.
The Law Council strongly supports the establishment of a CIC. Corruption has many corrosive effects on society and serves to undermine democracy and the rule of law. The proposed model clearly seeks to further address Australia’s obligations as a signatory to the United Nations Convention against Corruption1 to develop policies in relation to anti-corruption.2
It is pleasing to see that some of the issues raised by the Law Council in its submission in response to the Attorney-General’s Department Consultation Paper ‘A Commonwealth Integrity Commission – proposed reforms’ (Consultation Paper) have been considered in the formulation of the draft legislation. In particular, the Law Council welcomes the continued exclusion of judicial officers from the scheme and the adoption of provisions aimed at ensuring legal representation for witnesses appearing before the CIC.
However, the Law Council considers that the draft legislation has significant shortcomings – both in the scope of the corruption it can investigate and in the unnecessary complexity of the mechanisms it requires the proposed CIC to engage in to pursue its functions. Many of the issues the Law Council identified in its submission on the Consultation Paper remain present in the CIC Bill.
The Law Council submits that the draft legislation should be substantively revised and amended before it is introduced into Parliament. To this end, the Law Council makes the following recommendations to significantly improve the effectiveness of the proposed CIC.
You can read the full submission below.
1 General Assembly, United Nations Convention Against Corruption, GA Res 58/4, UN GAOR, 58th sess, Agenda Item 108, UN Doc A/RES/58/4 (31 October 2003).
2 Ibid, art 5(1).