Prime Minister Scott Morrison. Picture: Kelly Barnes
Prime Minister Scott Morrison. Picture: Kelly Barnes

Federal ICAC not 'fair-dinkum': Shorten

UPDATE: Opposition Leader Bill Shorten says the Morrison government's new national anti-corruption commission is a case of "too little, too late" and not "fair dinkum".

"This anti-corruption commission needs more power, more scope and opportunity for some transparency," Mr Shorten told reporters.

His comments came after Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced this morning that

Australia will get a national anti-corruption commission.

Mr Morrison, speaking at a press conference in Sydney, said the new proposal had "real resources and real teeth" to protect the Commonwealth public administration.

It comes after mounting pressure on the PM to establish a federal anti-corruption watchdog after claims from Labor, the Greens and minor parties that the current system was inadequate.

"On the establishment of an integrity commission, this was an exercise we embarked on in January of this year," Mr Morrison said.

"We haven't kicked up a lot of dust about this because we've just been working on it.

"We think it is always important to raise the bar and maintain the bar to ensure the public can have confidence in the Commonwealth public administration.

"It is true to say that when it comes to these issues, Australia is a long way ahead, and leads the world when it comes to protecting the integrity of our administration.

 

EARLIER: AUSTRALIA will get a national anti-corruption commission, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced.

Mr Morrison, speaking at a press conference in Sydney, said the new proposal had "real resources and real teeth" to protect the Commonwealth public administration.

"On the establishment of an integrity commission, this was an exercise we embarked on in January of this year," Mr Morrison said.

"We haven't kicked up a lot of dust about this because we've just been working on it.

"We think it is always important to raise the bar and maintain the bar to ensure the public can have confidence in the Commonwealth public administration.

"It is true to say that when it comes to these issues, Australia is a long way ahead, and leads the world when it comes to protecting the integrity of our administration.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison. Picture: AAP/Kelly Barnes
Prime Minister Scott Morrison. Picture: AAP/Kelly Barnes

"These are sensible changes we're outlining today. They learn the lessons, I think, from many of the failed experiments we've seen at a state jurisdiction level.

"I have no interest in establishing kangaroo courts."

Work on changes to Australia's anti-corruption regime began under former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull, but neither Liberal leader had previously committed to a national integrity body.

Pressure from Labor, the Greens and independents to set up an integrity commission peaked in parliament in November, when a motion passed the lower house calling for its creation.

Attorney-General Christian Porter said the commission would have two divisions - a law enforcement integrity divison and a public sector integrity division. He said the proposal would cover elected officials.

"There would be a Law Enforcement Integrity Commissioner, a public sector integrity commissioner and an overarching Commonwealth integrity commissioner," Attorney-General Porter said.

"It would cover elected officials. So Parliamentarians, ministers. The way in which the body would operate is that you'll see with the multiagency framework that there are also a whole range of institutions that deal with different parts of the public service.

"For instance, an organisation that this Government created, the Independent Parliamentary Expenses Authority, looks into expenses with issues in respect to Parliamentarians. If that body in one of its inquiries finds something that it considers might constitute criminal corruption, they will refer that matter to this new body who would take over the investigation of that matter.

"So this is a system of referral inside the multiagency framework that presently exists.

"The public sector integrity division of this new organisation will have slightly different powers to the law enforcement side of the organisation noting that they are investigating

different types of behaviour in different types of organisations at varying degrees of severity."

-With AAP