Australia’s federal anti-corruption watchdog has witnessed a significant increase in its referrals, garnering over 300 since its recent debut. As of Monday, National Anti-Corruption Commissioner Paul Brereton noted that 44 of these came via their online system, a number which quickly rose to 186 online submissions and 116 phone calls by Wednesday. A significant portion, about 60, relate to events heavily featured in media outlets.

However, the Centre for Public Integrity, Australia’s leading anti-corruption think tank, through its director Geoffrey Watson SC, believes that this surge may contain redundancies and less serious issues, estimating only 30 to 50 cases merit deeper scrutiny. Nonetheless, these early referrals echo the nation’s hunger for transparency, integrity, and a drive to counteract corruption. Watson underscores the overdue need for this integrity commission, stressing the untouched scandals in Australia’s past.

Mr Brereton has urged caution against the misuse of the platform for spurious claims. The commission, with its pivotal role, will oversee the conduct of commonwealth officials, government contractors, and public servants. Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus has accentuated the commission’s focus on weighty matters that promote anti-corruption awareness.

This is a summary of “Corruption watchdog referrals skyrocket since launch” published in Maitland Mercury on July 5, 2023, written by Paul Osborne and Alex Mitchell. Read it in full here.