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Independent Member for Clark, Andrew Wilkie, has welcomed the legislation by the Federal Government to establish a National Anti-Corruption Commission.

“The crossbench has led the charge when it comes to cleaning up politics and holding governments to account,” Mr Wilkie said. “The imminent introduction of the Government’s legislation for a National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) is a step forward in achieving this and bringing integrity into politics.

“For the NACC to be independent of government, able to conduct public hearings, take referrals from anyone, look at corruption retrospectively and be empowered to investigate potentially corrupting conduct by third parties shows the Government is listening to the Australian people. But while this is a good start, I’ll continue to work constructively with the Government, alongside my crossbench colleagues, to ensure the model is the best it can be. In other words, a watchdog, not a lapdog.

“It’s also pleasing to hear that the NACC will provide ‘strong protections for whistleblowers’. As a former whistleblower, I know the devastating impact blowing the whistle has on a person’s life. No one telling the truth should be made to suffer, so that’s why it’s vital that this legislation include the creation of a whistblower protection commissioner. Having a commissioner guide and back whistleblowers will provide them with a protective mechanism to come forward with evidence of alleged misconduct. This goes to the heart of the NACC’s ability to be effective.

“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity, so it’s important the NACC is a powerful body that has the ability to root out wrongdoing in Canberra and restore public confidence in politics.”