The attorney-general’s department has begun advertising for several roles for a National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) Taskforce, a key campaign promise from Labor during the election campaign.
According to a job posting on APS Jobs, the establishment of the NACC is ‘one of its highest priorities’ of the government.
Responsibilities for the taskforce as listed in the posting include advising the government on the design of the NACC, consulting with stakeholders, and working with other departments such as the Department of Finance.
The job advertisement lists several roles from APS Level 4 to Executive Level 2, closing on June 6.
“It is great to see the work of setting up an integrity commission finally underway,” the Centre for Public Integrity executive director Han Aulby told The Mandarin.
“The National Anti-Corruption Commission must have all the strong powers of a Royal Commission, including the ability to hold public hearings. It also must have a broad jurisdiction. There is consensus from experts on these points, and Labor committed to them in their design principles before the election. We hope the taskforce will build on this existing design consensus,” Aulby added.
Mark Dreyfus was named attorney-general earlier this week.
Calls for a federal integrity watchdog were a feature of the election, including from 31 legal jurists in an open letter to Scott Morrison, Anthony Albanese and the leaders of the minor parties, as reported in The Mandarin.
“We are retired judges who believe that a national integrity commission is urgently needed to fill the gaps in our integrity system and restore trust in our political processes. Nothing less than halting the serious erosion of our shared democratic principles is at stake,” the letter read.
During the election, then-prime minister Scott Morrison rejected calls for a federal Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC).
“I don’t think public servants sitting in Canberra have a better idea about what people need in their communities than their members of parliament who work in those communities every day,” Morrison told the ABC’s 7.30 program.
In contrast, one of Labor’s policies was to establish a NACC.
“Anti-corruption commissions serve the public by uncovering corruption and ensuring that members of a government, including politicians, are held to account if they engage in corrupt conduct,” Labor’s website reads.
The policy further states the commission would act independently and be able to make findings of fact, but will refer criminal conduct to the Australian Federal Police or the Commonwealth Department of Public Prosecutions.
Each state and territory has its own anti-corruption commission, and one does not exist at the national level.