The NACC will commence on 1 July 2023 and will be an independent Commonwealth agency responsible for detecting, investigating and reporting on serious or systemic corrupt conduct in the Commonwealth public sector. The NACC will also educate the public sector, and the community, about corruption risks and prevention.
The Commission will be able to investigate the conduct of Commonwealth public officials. This includes individuals engaged under Parts II, III or IV of the Members of Parliament (Staff) Act and other individuals engaged by parliamentarians as consultants or contractors.
The Attorney-General’s Department has developed a short video to explain the functions and powers of the NACC. There are also fact sheets available on What is the NACC?, What is corrupt conduct? and Who can the NACC investigate?
- The National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) will commence on 1 July 2023. This circular provides you with additional information and resources about the commencement of the NACC.
- All parliamentarians and the people they employ or engage as consultants under the Members of Parliament (Staff) Act 1984 (MoPS Act) are considered public officials.This means the NACC may be able to investigate allegations of serious or systemic corrupt conduct concerning these officials.
- In addition, all parliamentarians are considered ‘agency heads’ and have mandatory referral obligations under the National Anti-Corruption Commission Act 2022 (NACC Act).
Definition of corrupt conduct
While corrupt conduct can take many forms, the NACC Act defines it to mean situations where a public official:
- does something that breaches the public trust which may include exercising official powers for an improper purpose,
- abuses their office as a public official, where a public official engages in improper acts in an official capacity to gain a benefit or cause a detriment, or
- misuses information or documents they have access to in their capacity as a public official, including the disclosure of confidential or classified information for an improper purpose, or violating secrecy obligations.
It also applies to any person (whether or not they are a public official) who does something, or tries to do something, that could adversely affect a public official’s honesty or impartiality in their official capacity.
Mandatory referral obligations
Under the NACC Act parliamentarians will have mandatory referral obligations. This means that if a parliamentarian becomes aware of corrupt conduct they must tell the NACC about it if:
- the corrupt conduct concerns a person who is, or was, a staff member within their office while that person is, or was, a staff member within their office; and
- the parliamentarian suspects the corrupt conduct could be serious or systemic.
The terms ‘serious’ and ‘systemic’ are not defined in the NACC Act and will take their ordinary meaning.
It will be up to the NACC Commissioner to decide if a particular allegation of corrupt conduct is serious or systemic.
Parliamentarians and their staff may still have questions about specific obligations under the Act, the process of referring issues to the Commission, and dealing with Commission investigations. The attached fact sheet and poster provide an overview of how the commencement of the NACC affects parliamentarians and their offices.
Additional information and training
An eLearning module about the role and powers of the NACC is being developed for use across the public sector and will be available shortly on the Ministerial and Parliamentary website.
Additional information can be found on the Attorney-General’s Department website and further information will become available once the NACC commences operations on 1 July 2023.