Work starts on federal corruption watchdog

December 02, 2022 03:50 PM AEDT | By AAPNEWS
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Australia's first federal anti-corruption watchdog is seeking a commissioner to lead its work, offering a salary package higher than that of the chief justice.

Federal parliament this week approved laws to set up the National Anti-Corruption Commission.

The body will investigate serious or systemic corrupt conduct across the commonwealth public sector by ministers, parliamentarians and their staff, statutory officer holders, employees of all government entities and government contractors.

It will operate independently of government and be able to launch inquiries on its own initiative or in response to referrals, including from whistleblowers and the public.

The commission will be able to investigate alleged corruption which occurred before the laws were passed.

However, public hearings will only occur in exceptional circumstances and where it is considered in the public interest to do so.

The laws provide protections for whistleblowers and exemptions for journalists to protect the identity of sources.

The government has advertised for the inaugural NACC commissioner, who will be entitled to a $728,900 salary package, and will also appoint up to three deputies.

The High Court chief justice earns $608,150.

The commissioner will need the endorsement of cabinet and a parliamentary committee involving six government members, four opposition members and two crossbenchers drawn from the lower and upper houses.

The committee is expected to be formed when parliament resumes in February.

Staff from the existing Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity will shift over to the new commission in coming months as the new senior leadership comes on board.


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