Thursday, October 29, 2009

Tasmania's proposed Integrity Commission

These notes made prior to doing a Stateline interview on the proposed Integrity Commission.

Integrity Commission some possible discussion points

Key Overview Points


· Appointment

· Operational decisions

· Review (3 yearly and of its determinations)

· Referral of determinations of misconduct

· Reporting

Adds to and improves substantially the current accountability/integrity arrangements

· Parliament

· Police


· Ombudsman

· Auditor-General

· Right to Information bill

· Public Interest Disclosures

Multi-faceted and multi-tasked organisation

Allows for maximum co-ordination among key agencies

Avoids the default standard for behaviour being “if not criminal/corrupt then acceptable”

Joint Standing Committee

Tri-partisan lower house – raises issue again of parliamentary numbers

Independent – Committee chooses its Chair

Integrity Tribunal

Flexible composition

Right to counsel and cross examination

Range of inquiry types – full public hearing to full in private inquiry

Police misconduct – and supervision , monitoring of police complaints

Own motion capacity


2.5 million +

costs of inquiries, legal costs, compensation direct charge on Consolidated Fund.

Parliamentary Standards Commissioner

Conduct, ethics, conflicts of interest etc of members of parliament.

Contrast to UK Commissioner for Parliamentary Standards – set up by House of Commons, an Officer of Parliament.

Whether should be appointed by Chief Commissioner or by Joint Standing Committee Parliamentary Integrity Committee.



· Enter public offices without warrant

· Search warrants

· Full range of powers while on premises (search, seize, operate)

· Surveillance/tracking devices (extended to commissions of inquiry)

Other benefits

· More robust oversight of police conduct

· Commissions of Inquiry Act improved

o Witnesses in prison, Ashley, Mental impairment act can be accessed

o Surveillance devices

  • Allows unlimited retrospectivity - but highly unlikely unless new evidence/witnesses, information.


1. composition of Board

a. Ombudsman, Auditor General,State Services Commissioner, member local gov experience/expertise, member law enforcement experience, public member with expertise public administration, law

2. Appointment – Minister must consult Joint Committee

3. Joint Committee

a. Review after 3 years

4. Appeal to Supreme Court on finding of misconduct

5. Other entities have to put into operation determinations of misconduct

6. Approval needed for warrants, surveillance devices

7. Major focus of IC is on Integrity, education/prevention, tirage

Potential problems

· Damage to reputation

· Tribunal able to set its own procedures

· No rules on type/time of notice etc (need to accord procedural fairness)

What not done – at issue

Proclamation date

Appointment of Ombudsman, State Services Commissioner (consultation with Joint Committee) - this proposal not adopted. Would improve Ombudsman selection process.

Judicial misconduct

Test against previous problems

Integrity Commission would have addressed many of the major issues arising in previous sagas -

Major decision-making process political at times of greatest political/public controversy/heat

Carter Royal Commission

· Delay in calling

· Surveillance issues

· Recall of witnesses

· Issue of representation and costs

· Involvement of ministers/premier

Tas Compliance Corporation

· Appointment of party members, former MPs etc

· Deleted emails etc

· Concerns within agency


· Administrative processes

· Appointment processes

· Recordkeeping activities

Gilewicz Inquiry

Delay in investigating (10 years)