DESPITE reluctance from many politicians, candidates for the seat of Calare want to see an integrity commission established to act as a watchdog for Australia's highest level of government.
For years there have been calls for the federal government to introduce a commission that would operate similarly to the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC).
The role of ICAC is to deal with corrupt conduct involving or affecting most of the NSW public sector, including state government agencies, local government authorities, members of Parliament and the judiciary.
It has extensive powers of investigation and may conduct public inquiries for the purposes of its investigations.
There isn't an equivalent independent agency at a federal level.
Calare candidates were asked to state their position on the issue of a national integrity commission at the Combined Pensioners and Superannuants Association (CPSA) forum earlier this month.
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All of them expressed their support for one, including incumbent Andrew Gee.
"In terms of an ICAC, I guess I come to the table with some experience - not that I've ever been investigated or appeared before ICAC, but I have served on the ICAC committee of the NSW Parliament," he said, going on to say that ICAC has a really important role to play.
"I have no issue with a federal one either and I don't mind if it investigates politicians. I think that when you're setting it up, it's better to try to get agreement and a consensus on the model, because there are a number of different models operating around Australia."
His opinion is contrary to that of Barnaby Joyce, the leader of his party, The Nationals, who in 2021 compared ICAC to the Spanish Inquisition.
Labor candidate Sarah Elliott also expressed support for a federal integrity commission.
"We need to have a federal ICAC," she said.
"We need absolute transparency as to how public money is being spent. We need to know of corporate donations that may be influencing policy choices against the better interests of the community.
"We need to know all this. And it's not just extended to our politicians, it is also extended to our public servants as well, and we can see that in the NSW ICAC, although it is a shame that the NSW ICAC has had some of its teeth removed and it needs to be restored.
"The federal ICAC must have teeth; it can't be some wishy-washy little tokenistic agency, it needs to have teeth so it bites properly."
Labor leader Anthony Albanese has promised to create a federal anti-corruption commission by the end of the year if elected.
One Nation's Stacey Whittaker agreed with Ms Elliott.
"I think everyone needs to be held accountable and I agree with what Sarah's had to say. I think it shouldn't just stop with politicians and their staff, I think wherever public money is being spent those departments need to be looked at as well," she said.
Kate Hook, the lone independent candidate, said it was something that she and others in the electorate want.
"That is of critical importance in this election," she said. "Every person that I have spoken to, in one way or another, nobody supports the idea of not doing everything we can to make sure that corruption has no place in politics. Why wouldn't we do that?"
Ms Hook also highlighted her concern about the influence of political donations, a point followed up on by Kay Nankervis, the candidate for The Greens.
"The Greens has long held that there should be a federal integrity commission and is responsible for one of the other bills for an ICAC which is languishing the parliament at the moment," she said.
"I also want to say that we also support political donation reform. We have a policy where we only accept donations from individuals and that's capped at $6600 per year."
The United Australia Party candidate, Adam Jannis, said "accountability and transparency" were important.
"I'm definitely in favour of any sort of investigatory committee that has power to investigate obviously and then punish those who are responsible for the mismanagement of public funds and whatever else happens behind the scenes," he said.
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