Enough already on the integrity over-sight

The feds propose Commonwealth integrity over-sight, which will cover universities.  Just like the states’ corruption commissions do already

It’s a point institutions and associations make in submissions on the exposure draft of the government’s bill.

The Australian Technology Network (and steady-date) Uni Newcastle say they “respect the Government’s authority, exercised on behalf of all Australians, to ensure the proper use of Government funding.” However, “as organisations established by state legislation, universities are already within the jurisdiction of state integrity agencies.

“ATN appreciates that the Government has sought to learn from the experience of those agencies when designing the commission but notes that universities will still be subject to those state integrity agencies and would counsel against overlap across the jurisdictions.”

But if the Morrison Government must, ATN asks that the legislation require coordination with other agencies whose briefs cover corruption.  And it calls for clarity on exactly who in a university is covered, pointing out HE providers have “thousands of formal and informal relationships, which can range from informal relationships between individual academics at different institutions, to extensive multi-lateral partnerships (e.g. joint research centres or jointly accredited courses). From a risk-based and proportionate point-of-view, these relationships vary greatly in their potential for corruption and impact.”

The Innovative Research Universities does not muck-around, arguing that including universities is not necessary. Its analysis of relevant state and territory legislation reveals their agencies have the power to investigate broad issues of corruption and misconduct, with no restriction on “issues relating to the national interest, foreign interference or other federal issues.”

“There is no compelling reason for a blanket inclusion of universities in this legislation, which would impose yet another layer of bureaucracy onto universities with no discernible benefit to universities or the government,” IRU states.