The Australian Public Service has given itself a clean bill of health and says it does not want or need a new federal corruption-busting commission.
Most public service misconduct was "of the less serious kind", Public Service Commissioner John Lloyd has argued, and most perpetrators already get caught with departments and agencies doing a good job in preventing or detecting corruption.
The Commission says a "federal ICAC" was not needed, would cost too much, was likely to over-reach in its powers and probably would not be effective.
Calls for a new federal anti-corruption outfit have grown since the arrest of senior Tax official Michael Cranston, who is accused of using his position to help his son Adam who is the alleged mastermind of a huge scam against the Australian Taxation Office.
A Senate Select Committee is inquiring into the establishment of a "National Integrity Commission", but Mr Lloyd's submission to the inquiry shows little enthusiasm for the idea.
The commissioner says the latest data produced by his agency did not identify corruption as a serious problem in Commonwealth departments.
"The majority of misconduct was of a less serious kind," Mr Lloyd wrote.
"Between the 2014−2016 financial years, 1,866 misconduct investigations were concluded, with only 228 investigations resulting in termination of employment.
"During the same time, 888 employees were reprimanded for their misconduct."
Mr Lloyd wrote that 717 alleged breaches of the APS Code of Conduct were finalised in 2015-2016, in a workforce of more than 150,000, and only 106 of them involved accusations of corruption,
"In the last employee census conducted by the APSC, only 4 per cent of APS employees reported having witnessed another employee engaging in behaviour they regarded as corrupt," the commissioner wrote.
Mr Lloyd backed the position of his deputy, Stephanie Foster, who poured cold water on the idea of a federal ICAC, in her 2016 submission to an earlier parliamentary inquiry.
"The reported relatively low incidence of actual and perceived corruption in the APS suggests that the current arrangements, with responsibility distributed between law enforcement and other specialist agencies, is working well," Ms Foster wrote.
"The experience of the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) and counterpart bodies in other states is not reassuring.
"A number have encountered difficulties related to the misuse and over reach of their powers.
"The risk of an anti-corruption body overreaching its jurisdiction is significant, given that the range of people covered by the jurisdiction of anti-corruption bodies tends to be extensive, ranging from Members of Parliament, the judiciary, police, the Australian Defence Force and current and former public servants.
"A National Integrity Commission would be neither simple nor inexpensive.
"It is open to conjecture whether the creation of such a body would materially reduce the current levels of corrupt and unlawful behaviour."
But respected anti-corruption campaigners Transparency International are in now doubt about the need for a federal corruption-buster.
The group argues that the present anti-corruption efforts in the federal sphere are fragmented and full of gaps and Transparently International believes it has public opinion on its side.
"There can at this time be no serious case put forward against the establishment of a broad-based federal anti-corruption agency, if well designed," the group wrote in its submission to the inquiry.
"The community demands it and the circumstances of our time urgently require it."
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