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Introducing Australia’s National Anti-Corruption Commission

04 October 2022

2 min read

#Dispute Resolution & Litigation, #White Collar Crime & Regulatory Investigations

Published by:

Susan Guo

Introducing Australia’s National Anti-Corruption Commission

On 28 September 2022, Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus introduced the National Anti-Corruption Commission Bill 2022 and National Anti-Corruption Commission (Consequential and Transitional Provisions) Bill 2022 (collectively, the Bills) to Parliament. The Bills are currently under review before the joint committee. The government aims to pass the Bills this year which will enable the commencement of the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) in mid-2023.

What is the National Anti-Corruption Commission?

The Bills seek to establish the NACC under a Parliamentary Joint Committee, with an appointed Inspector led by the NACC Commissioner, up to three Deputy Commissioners, and supported by a Chief Executive Officer.

There are six key features of this newly introduced NACC:

  • broad jurisdiction
  • independence from government
  • comprehensive powers
  • accountability and reporting
  • protections
  • oversight

What are its powers?

Firstly, the NACC is said to be established as a body to investigate “serious” or “systemic” corrupt conduct by Commonwealth officials.

Secondly, the NACC’s independence will be reinforced by:

  • how the Commissioners and Deputy Commissioners are appointed
  • the NACC’s ability to conduct its own motion investigations and to receive referrals from any source
  • The NACC’s discretion to deal with corruption issues as it deems fit

Thirdly, the NACC’s investigation powers are said to expand beyond state-based investigation bodies such as IBAC (Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission in Victoria) and ICAC (Independent Commission Against Corruption in NSW). The NACC will have a “full range of investigative powers” including:

  • entering Commonwealth premises and requiring Commonwealth information without a warrant
  • compelling production of documents and things and search premises
  • conducting private hearings and, under certain caveats, public hearings
  • intercepting telecommunications and using surveillance devices

Fourthly, the NACC will be required to, similarly to Royal Commissions, prepare reports on its investigations. These reports may also be published if it is in the public interest to do so.

Fifthly, the NACC will also offer protections for whistleblowers and safeguards against undue reputational damage to involved personnel.

Finally, the NACC will be overseen by the aforementioned Parliamentary Joint Committee, which provides accountability and regulation towards the Commission’s performance and budget. The appointed Inspector is also an independent officer of Parliament who is able to investigate any corruption issues within the NACC and grapple with other complaints.

Stay tuned

With the Bills being submitted to Parliament, we anticipate substantial legal discourse around areas of law relating to the Commonwealth government, parliament and the judiciary. In the coming weeks, we will further discuss the details put forward by the Bills.

Holding Redlich has substantive experience working with anti-corruption agencies, including IBAC, ICAC and CCC. We are well-placed to assist your organisation in responding to any investigation that the NACC may institute in time. If you require any assistance, please contact us below or send us your enquiry here.

Authors: Howard Rapke, Kylie Hall & Susan Guo

The information in this article is of a general nature and is not intended to address the circumstances of any particular individual or entity. Although we endeavour to provide accurate and timely information, we do not guarantee that the information in this article is accurate at the date it is received or that it will continue to be accurate in the future.

Published by:

Susan Guo

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