National anti-corruption watchdog operations to begin on July 1

Governor-General David Hurley signed off on the anti-corruption commission beginning date of July 1.

Governor-General David Hurley signed off on the anti-corruption commission beginning date of July 1.

The national anti-corruption body is set to start operating in the new financial year after the official sign off by the Governor-General.

Federal parliament passed legislation to establish the independent watchdog last year, to be led by NSW Court of Appeal judge Paul Brereton.

The commission will be able to launch inquiries on its initiative or in response to referrals, including from whistleblowers and the public.

On Thursday, Governor-General David Hurley signed off on the legislation and fixed July 1, 2023 as the official start of the watchdog’s operations.

Independent MP Helen Haines, a staunch advocate for a national integrity commission, said it was incredibly exciting an operations start date had been confirmed.

“The National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) is the most important reform for integrity at a federal level in Australia for decades, and people all over Australia have told me how important it is to them that this is delivered,” Dr Haines told AAP.

“I am proud to have played a role in its establishment and look forward to the influence it will have on integrity in our political system.”

Paul Brereton will lead the commission. Photo: AAP/Department of Defence

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 be able to investigate alleged corruption that 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.

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