On 19 September 2012, the Law Enforcement Integrity Legislation
Amendment Bill 2012 (Bill) was introduced into the House of Representatives by
the Minister for Justice, the Hon Jason Clare MP (Minister).
On 20 September 2012, the Senate referred the Bill to the Legal
and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee (committee) for inquiry and
report by 20 November 2012.
On 29 October 2012, the House of Representatives passed the Bill
and, on 30 October 2012, the Bill was introduced into the Senate.
According to the Explanatory Memorandum (EM), the Bill introduces:
...a range of measures to increase the resistance of
Commonwealth law enforcement agencies to corruption and to enhance the range of
tools available to law enforcement agencies to respond to suspected corruption.
In introducing the proposed legislation, the Minister stated:
The vast majority of Commonwealth law enforcement officers
are good, honest, hardworking people. But it is an unfortunate fact that
criminals target law enforcement officers. Organised crime groups actively
target our law enforcement officers because of the nature of the work that they
do—and because of their access to sensitive information...There is no place for
corruption in the public sector.
Overview of the Bill
To achieve its intended objectives, the Bill contains three key
- introduction of targeted integrity testing for staff members of
the Australian Federal Police (AFP), the Australian Crime Commission (ACC), and
the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service (Customs);
- extension of the jurisdiction of the Australian Commission for
Law Enforcement Integrity (ACLEI), to include the Australian Transaction
Reports and Analysis Centre, CrimTrac, and prescribed staff of the Department
of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry; and
- enhancement of the powers of the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of
Customs, to deal with suspected cases of corrupt conduct, and to align those
powers with the powers currently available to the AFP Commissioner and the
CEO of the ACC.
The Financial Impact Statement in the EM advises that two of the
proposed key measures – the introduction of targeted integrity testing and the enhancement
of the CEO of Customs' powers – will have no financial impact; however, to
support its expanded jurisdiction, ACLEI will be provided with additional
funding of $1.5 million over two years (2013-2014 and 2014-2015).
Key provisions of the Bill
Submitters and witnesses to the inquiry raised concerns in relation to Part
1 of Schedule 1 of the Bill (introduction of targeted integrity testing) and Schedule
2 of the Bill (enhancement of the powers of the CEO of Customs). The
committee's report therefore describes and considers only those proposed
provisions. The EM sets out the provisions of the Bill in detail.
Introduction of targeted integrity
As the EM explains:
[Integrity tests are] operations designed to test whether a
public official will respond to a simulated or controlled situation in a manner
that is illegal or would contravene an agency's standard of integrity. For
example, a test may involve the insertion of false information into a database
to test whether an official, acting corruptly, may seek to unlawfully disclose
that information to organised crime figures.
Part 1 of Schedule 1 of the Bill is intended to give effect to
recommendations made by the Parliamentary Joint Committee on the Australian
Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity,
by amending the Crimes Act 1914 (Cth) (Crimes Act).
The proposed amendments include the insertion of proposed new Part
IABA—Integrity testing into the Crimes Act (integrity testing regime), to
introduce an integrity testing regime for the AFP, the ACC, and Customs.
Enhancement of the powers of the
CEO of Customs
Schedule 2 of the Bill amends the Customs Administration Act 1985
(Cth), to introduce a range of measures to increase the corruption resilience
These measures include enhanced powers for the CEO to make orders, including in
respect of mandatory reporting, and the ability for authorised officers to
require or direct drug and alcohol testing of Customs workers.
Conduct of the inquiry
The committee advertised the inquiry in The Australian on
26 September 2012. Details of the inquiry, including links to the
Bill and associated documents, were placed on the committee's website at www.aph.gov.au/senate_legalcon.
The committee also wrote to a number of organisations and individuals, inviting
submissions by 12 October 2012. Submissions continued to be accepted
after that date.
The committee received 11 submissions, which are listed at Appendix 1.
All submissions were published on the committee's website.
The committee held a public hearing on 1 November 2012 at
Parliament House in Canberra. A list of witnesses who appeared at the
hearing is at Appendix 2, and the Hansard transcript is available
through the committee's website.
The committee thanks those organisations and individuals who made
submissions and gave evidence at the public hearing.
Note on references
References to the committee Hansard are to the proof Hansard.
Page numbers may vary between the proof and the official Hansard
Navigation: Previous Page | Contents | Next Page