Paragraph 215(1)(c) of the LEIC Act requires the Parliamentary Joint Committee on the Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity (committee) to examine:
each annual report prepared by the Integrity Commissioner;
any special report prepared by the Integrity Commissioner; and
report to the Parliament on any matter appearing in, or arising out of, any such annual report or special report.
This report presents the committee's examination of the Annual Report of the Integrity Commissioner 2018–19 (Annual Report 2018–19), and consists of three chapters.
This introductory chapter sets out background information regarding the role of the Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity (ACLEI), the requirements for ACLEI's annual reports, and information regarding the committee's conduct of the examination.
Chapter 2 considers key issues raised in the course of the committee's examination of the Annual Report 2018–19. Chapter 3 summarises and assesses ACLEI's results against its performance framework in 2018–19, to the extent such matters are not addressed in chapter 2.
ACLEI was established by the Law Enforcement Integrity Commissioner Act 2006 (LEIC Act) and commenced operation on 30 December 2006. The LEIC Act established the Office of the Integrity Commissioner, supported by a statutory authority, ACLEI.
The objectives of the LEIC Act, as set out in section 3, are to:
facilitate the detection of corrupt conduct in law enforcement agencies;
facilitate the investigation of corruption issues that relate to law enforcement agencies;
enable criminal offences to be prosecuted, and civil penalty proceedings to be brought, following those investigations;
prevent corrupt conduct in law enforcement agencies; and
maintain and improve the integrity of staff members of law enforcement agencies.
Presentation of ACLEI Annual Report 2018–19
The Annual Report 2018–19 was presented to the Attorney-General, the Hon. Christian Porter MP, on 30 September 2019. It was tabled in the Senate on 11 November 2019 and in the House of Representatives on 21 October 2019.
Requirements for annual reports
Section 201 of the LEIC Act requires ACLEI’s annual reports to provide details on a range of matters, including:
corruption issues that have come to the Integrity Commissioner via: notifications from heads of law enforcement agencies; referrals from the minister; and referrals from other people;
corruption issues that the Integrity Commissioner has: dealt with on his or her own initiative; investigated; or referred to a government agency for investigation;
corruption issues investigated over the year and certificates issued under section 149 during the year;
investigations conducted that ‘raise significant issues or developments in law enforcement’ and the extent to which ACLEI investigations have resulted in prosecutions or confiscation proceedings;
trends and patterns including the nature and scope of corruption in law enforcement and other Commonwealth agencies that have law enforcement functions;
recommendations for changes to Commonwealth laws or administrative practices of Commonwealth government agencies; and
details of court proceedings involving the Integrity Commissioner, including applications made to the Federal Court.
The Annual Report 2018-19 includes an index that provides a guide to the report’s compliance with requirements set out under section 201 of the LEIC Act and associated regulations, as well as the requirements set out under section 46 of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (including the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Rule 2014).
The committee is satisfied ACLEI has fulfilled its annual reporting obligations under the LEIC Act and other requirements as set out in the compliance index of the Annual Report 2018-19.
Requirements for special reports
Under section 204 of the LEIC Act, the Integrity Commissioner may prepare special reports that relate to the operations of the Integrity Commissioner or any matter in connection with the performance of the Integrity Commissioner's powers or functions under the LEIC Act.
In its report on ACLEI's Annual Report 2010–11, the committee suggested that future ACLEI annual reports 'clearly state whether any special reports have been provided to the Minister and make an appropriate reference in the compliance index'. ACLEI adopted this suggestion.
The Annual Report 2018–19 states that the Integrity Commissioner prepared no special reports during the relevant year.
Corrections to the annual report of the Integrity Commissioner 2018–19
On 11 June 2020, ACLEI advised of an amendment to the data contained in the Annual Report 2018–19 on page 18. ACLEI advised the reporting of two crime referrals to the Australian Federal Police Criminal Assets Confiscation Taskforce during 2018–19 was incorrect and 'in fact … no referrals [were made] to the Taskforce during that year'.
On 10 February 2020, Ms Jaala Hinchcliffe commenced as the Integrity Commissioner and head of the Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity.
References to the Integrity Commissioner in the Annual Report 2018–19 are to then Integrity Commissioner, Mr Michael Griffin AM. The public hearing for the inquiry was held after Mr Griffin AM concluded his term as Integrity Commissioner, resulting in Ms Hinchcliffe appearing before the committee.
Conduct of the inquiry
On 25 June 2020, the committee held a public hearing to examine the Annual Report 2018–19. During the hearing, the committee heard evidence from the Integrity Commissioner and other ACLEI officers. A list of witnesses is provided in Appendix 1.
In this report, references to Committee Hansard are to proof transcripts. Page numbers may vary between proof and official transcripts.
The committee acknowledges ACLEI's ongoing co-operation and engagement with the committee. The committee welcomes the new Integrity Commissioner to her role, and thanks her for appearing at the public hearing on 25 June 2020.
On the basis of the well-considered and thoughtful answers given at the public hearing, the committee positively notes the speed with which the new Integrity Commissioner has familiarised herself with the key issues and taken positive steps to continually improve efficiency and effectiveness of the processes and procedures of ACLEI.