The inaugural National Integrity Spotlight highlights a number of key developments in the Federal integrity landscape in what is going to be a landmark year in this space. In this edition, we consider how organisations are preparing for the impending commencement of the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) with reference to the Commonwealth Integrity Maturity Framework; measures taken by Australia to implement the UN Convention Against Corruption; an update on the sanctions imposed by the Australian Government against Russia; and the establishment of a Federal Judicial Commission.
The Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity (ACLEI) recently released the Commonwealth Integrity Maturity Framework (Framework). The Framework has drawn together numerous Commonwealth statutory obligations and policies relevant to organisational integrity and follows an extensive consultation process with the aim of providing an accurate representation of the Commonwealth integrity landscape.
The Framework provides information to support agencies and organisations to design, implement and review the effectiveness of their integrity frameworks in a way tailored to their risk profiles, size and contexts. The Framework also offers resources to public sector entities to assess and plan to improve their integrity systems, especially in preparation for the commencement of the NACC, as well as the introduction of other integrity developments across the Commonwealth.
A range of products have been created by the ACLEI to support the Framework, such as:
While it is not compulsory for an entity to assess their integrity maturity, we would strongly encourage those organisations preparing for the establishment NACC to do so and are assisting client’s already to work through this process.
In 2022 the UN Office on Drugs and Crime published the ‘Second Cycle’ report reviewing Australia’s implementation of its obligations under Chapters II (Prevention) and IV (Asset Recovery) of the UN Convention against Corruption.
The report made 13 recommendations. A number have already been addressed by the Federal Government’s legislative agenda prior to the publication of the report and in 2023 we can expect that further steps will be taken to improve Australia’s anti-corruption and anti-bribery framework.
We already know that the Federal Government has committed to introducing a public register of beneficial ownership in Australia as part of its multinational tax integrity package. A phased approach has been proposed, and initially only entities regulated under the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) will be required to maintain a register (some parts of which will be available to the public) of individuals and entities which fall within the definition of a beneficial owner. While we know that the consultation period ended on 16 December 2022, a timetable implementing these initiatives is yet to be proposed.
In addition, the Federal Government is:
Creation of the NACC does not respond directly to the 13 recommendations contained in the UN report, however we anticipate it will play a key role in bolstering Australia’s integrity arrangements.
The full impact on Australian businesses from the Federal Governments’ actions is yet to be determined. In the meantime, companies should:
In response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the Australian Government has imposed targeted sanctions against Russia. These sanctions were first imposed in 2014 and extended in 2015 and 2022.
Currently, Australia imposes the following autonomous sanction measures against Russia on the following:
Australian citizens or entities engaging in activities prohibited by the sanctions measures must either stop their activities or apply to the Minister for Foreign affairs and Trade for a sanctions permit. A sanctions permit, if granted, may be subject to further conditions.
In August 2022, the federal Attorney-General tabled the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) report, Without Fear or Favour: Judicial Impartiality and the Law on Bias (ALRC Report 138).
The report made 14 recommendations including the establishment a Federal Judicial Commission as an oversight mechanism to assist litigant and public confidence in judicial impartiality. On 29 September 2022, the Government provided its response to the ALRC’s report and agreed in-principle with the establishment of a Federal Judicial Commission.
On 17 January 2023, the Government released a discussion paper inviting submissions on the merits and design of a Federal Judicial Commission. Submissions in response to the discussion paper are asked to consider the following:
Submissions are due by 21 February 2023.
The long-awaited NACC is set to commence in mid-2023 and will have broad jurisdiction to investigate public sector corruption at the Federal level in Australia. With the establishment date fast approaching, we have a number of pieces of work available to assist your entity or organisation with preparedness.
Our Perth partner firm, Lavan Legal, are publishing a series of articles on the NACC. The first part can be found here.
Join Daniel Maroske, Director and Anna Fanelli, associate, as they run through:
This webinar is aimed at all those working in, or closely with, federal government agencies, as well as those who have a strong interest in issues of integrity and corruption.
Register for the webinar here.
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Cinzia Lee Donald, Partner (Lavan)
Kathy Merrick, Partner
Kelly Griffiths, Partner
Daniel Maroske, Director
Anna Famelli, Associate
Kasia Jaruzelska, Associate
Sarah Maneckshana, Associate
Sophia Liu, Lawyer
Stefani Giangregorio, Lawyer