The current multi-agency framework
At present, the Commonwealth's approach to public sector
integrity and corruption comprises a multi-agency framework in which different
agencies have distinct but at times overlapping responsibilities for maintaining
the integrity of and addressing corruption within the Commonwealth public
This chapter considers that multi-agency framework, in
how the Commonwealth defines corruption;
the agencies that comprise the framework and the interaction
between federal and state integrity agencies.
other integrity measures that bolster the Commonwealth's
the role of the Parliament in the integrity framework;
measures addressing parliamentarians' use of work expenses, and standards
governing the ministry and ministerial staff, and
the role of the media in public sector integrity and
Finally, the chapter examines a collaborative project between
Griffith University and Transparency International Australia (TIA) et al. assessing
how Australia's integrity system can be strengthened and reformed.
The definition of 'corruption'
The definition of corruption and the extent to which it is
desirable to define corruption for the purposes of the Commonwealth's integrity
framework were the subject of discussion during the course of the inquiry.
'Corruption' with regard to the Commonwealth public sector is
generally considered to be the dishonest or biased conduct of a public
official's function or duties, often for personal benefit or gain, and of a
serious nature. The concept of 'integrity' further expands the scope of
behaviour or conduct by public officials which might be considered
inappropriate but which might also be considered to be less serious or of lower
risk than 'corruption'.
This broad definition of 'corruption' is derived from the Australian
Public Service Commission's (APSC) annual Employee Census, which surveys the Australian
Public Service (APS) and includes a question about corruption in the service
(that is, whether APS employees have perceived, witnessed and/or reported
corruption in their workplace). The APSC currently defines corruption as:
The dishonest or
biased exercise of a Commonwealth public official’s functions. A distinguishing
characteristic of corrupt behaviour is that it involves conduct that would
usually justify serious penalties, such as termination of employment or
The APSC suggested that particular types of conduct fall within
the definition of corrupt conduct but that for its purposes, the term is given a
KAKOSCHKE-MOORE: So, what is the
commission's understanding of corruption, then, for the purposes of your
Mr Casimir: The question we put to employees in the census was
that we simply asked them to report whether they had seen behaviour in their
agency that they considered may be serious enough to be viewed as corruption.
We then put a series of things underneath that—things like bribery, domestic
and foreign fraud, forgery, embezzlement, theft or misappropriation of assets.
The list goes on.
Senator KAKOSCHKE-MOORE: So, the conduct you have just listed would be
considered corruption for the purposes of the code of conduct?
Mr Casimir: It was considered corruption for the purposes of the
KAKOSCHKE-MOORE: But how do you
define it now? Is there a definition you can point me to?
Mr Casimir: I think the answer to that is that we try to not
change the questions very much from year to year so we get consistent data.
This is a definition we use for our purposes. But there are other definitions, as
you know, in places like the [Law Enforcement Integrity Commissioner Act
2006 (LEIC Act)].
Indeed, certain types of corrupt conduct, such as fraud and
bribery, are defined in Commonwealth legislation for the purpose of outlining
certain criminal offences. Yet other definitions of 'corruption' exist in Commonwealth
legislation for the purpose of articulating the role and functions of some law
enforcement agencies. The Commonwealth's current position, articulated by the
Attorney-General's Department (AGD), is that beyond these existing definitions,
corruption should not be defined too narrowly:
We are of the
view...that we do not want to define 'corruption' too narrowly. Obviously there
is a range, and I think we have here about five of the various definitions of
'corruption'. The [LEIC Act], the [Australian Federal Police Act 1979 (AFP
Act)], the Border Force Act, the [Criminal Code Act 1995 (Criminal
Code)] and the Crimes (Superannuation Benefits) Act are examples of
those. We have looked at defining it previously and come to the conclusion that
the risk of doing so may narrow the approach to corruption. We do discuss with
each of the agencies—this is a discussion that we have ongoing with [the
Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity (ACLEI)], particularly, who
have a very broad approach to the definition of 'corruption'. Law enforcement
agencies provide them with everything—all of that advice—and then they triage.
The following sections consider some of the existing definitions
of corruption and corrupt conduct, such as those provided in the criminal law
and those applicable to agencies comprising the national integrity framework.
The criminal law applies in the same way to all natural persons,
including public officials and parliamentarians. This means that offences
outlined in the Criminal Code apply to public officials and parliamentarians in
the same way as they do to other members of the community.
For example, the Criminal Code outlines a number of offences
relating to fraudulent conduct, forgery and bribery of a foreign official. A
public official suspected of fraudulent conduct, forgery or bribery of a
foreign official is not immune from prosecution under these offences.
There are, however, a number of Commonwealth offences that apply
particularly to public officials.
Under section 141.1 of the Criminal Code it is an offence for a
Commonwealth public official to receive a bribe or corrupting benefit, carrying
penalties of imprisonment and/or a fine. Section 142.2 makes it an offence to
abuse public office, where a Commonwealth public official:
(i) exercises any influence that
the official has in the official’s capacity as a Commonwealth public official;
(ii) engages in any conduct in the
exercise of the official’s duties as a Commonwealth public official; or
(iii) uses any information that the
official has obtained in the official’s capacity as a Commonwealth public
(b) the official does so with the intention of:
(i) dishonestly obtaining a
benefit for himself or herself or for another person; or
(ii) dishonestly causing a
detriment to another person.
These offences have extended geographical jurisdiction: they
apply whether or not the conduct constituting the alleged offence occurs in
Australia, and whether or not a result of the conduct constituting the alleged
offence occurs in Australia.
Related legislative definition
The Crimes (Superannuation Benefits) Act 1989 relates 'to
certain superannuation benefits paid or payable to or in respect of certain
persons convicted of corruption purposes'. It allows superannuation payments to
be withheld from an employee (other than an officer of the Australian Federal
Police (AFP)) of the Commonwealth public sector where that person has been convicted
of a corruption offence.
The Act defines a 'corruption offence' as an offence:
by a person who was an employee at the time when it was
committed, being an offence:
(a) whose commission involved an abuse by the person of his
or her office as such an employee; or
(b) that, having regard to the powers and duties of such an
employee, was committed for a purpose that involved corruption; or
(c) that was committed for the purpose of perverting, or
attempting to pervert, the course of justice.
Definitions of corruption for the
purposes of law enforcement agencies
Further definitions of corruption and corrupt conduct are found
in legislation establishing and outlining the roles and functions of
Commonwealth law enforcement agencies.
Law Enforcement Integrity
Commission Act 2006
Pursuant to the LEIC Act, the legislation governing the
ACLEI, all law enforcement agencies are statutorily required to report any
allegation, or information, that raises a corruption issue to the Integrity
A 'law enforcement agency' is defined in the LEIC Act as:
(a) the AFP; or
(b) the [Australian Crime Commission (ACC)]; or
(ba) the [Department of Immigration and Border Protection
(bb) [the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis
Centre (AUSTRAC)]; or
(bd) the Agriculture Department; or
(c) the former [National Crime Authority]; or
(d) any other Commonwealth government agency that:
(i) has a law enforcement
prescribed by the regulations for the purposes of this paragraph.
As noted above, there is no definition of 'corruption' in the
LEIC Act. The definition of 'corrupt conduct' in the LEIC Act refers to the
definition of 'engages in corrupt conduct',
which is defined in the Act as follows:
the purpose of this Act, a staff member of a law enforcement agency engages in
corrupt conduct if the staff member, while a staff member of the agency,
that involves, or that is engaged in for the purpose of, the staff member
abusing his or her office as a staff member of the agency; or
that perverts, or that is engaged in for the purpose of perverting, the course
of justice; or
that, having regard to the duties and powers of the staff member as a staff
member of the agency, involves, or is engaged in for the purpose of, corruption
of any other kind.
the law enforcement agency is one referred to in paragraph (d) of the
definition of law enforcement agency, the staff member engages in corrupt
conduct only if the conduct relates to the performance of a law enforcement
function of the agency.
The LEIC Act also contains further definitions of 'serious
corruption' and 'systemic corruption.' Serious corruption is defined as:
...corrupt conduct engaged in by a staff member of a law
enforcement agency that could result in the staff member being charged with an
offence punishable, on conviction, by a term of imprisonment for 12 months or
Systemic corruption is defined as 'instances of corrupt conduct
(which may or may not constitute serious corruption) that reveal a pattern of
corrupt conduct in a law enforcement agency or in law enforcement agencies'.
TIA outlined the benefits of these statutory definitions as
...it is possible to differentiate between broad ideas of
‘corruption’ that may seem mismatched with a commission’s strong investigative
powers, and others that align more closely with the commission’s motivating
The Integrity Commissioner also provided the committee with the
following explanation of corruption in the context of an agency head's
obligation to notify the Commissioner of a corruption issue:
It is engaging in conduct—and the legislation refers to abuse
of power; it refers to perverting or obstructing the course of justice; and it
refers to, having regard to the office of an individual, whether or not what
they have done amounts to corruption of any other kind. Now, you might say to
me, 'What is corruption?' That is a question I asked myself when I took up the
job. As is often the case in legislation, as I am sure you are aware, if there
is not a definition, then one reverts to the ordinary everyday meaning. Courts,
for a long time, have then gone to the Macquarie and looked at the
definition, and so I did that. And if you look at the definition of 'corrupt'
in Macquarie, you will see 'dishonest or lacking in integrity'. If you
go to the definition of 'integrity', it is broader. It does not mention
'corrupt' or 'corruption' at all. It talks about 'soundness of moral principle
and character'. It talks about the wholeness of the being. So, somewhere in
that, I have to consider whether or not a matter that comes before me raises a
corruption issue. That is something that occupies a considerable amount of the
resourcing...But the bar is quite low.
Parliamentary Joint Committee on
the Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity inquiry
The operation of the LEIC Act was the subject of an inquiry by
the Parliamentary Joint Committee on the Australian Commission for Law
Enforcement Integrity (PJCACLEI). The PJCACLEI handed down its final report on
7 July 2011 and the government responded to its recommendations in
The PJCACLEI report considered the advantages and disadvantages
of a broad definition versus a tightened definition of corruption.
It concluded that, while a broad definition of corruption allowed for
flexibility, the committee was of the view that:
...a more detailed and comprehensive definition of corruption
is required. The committee considers that further definition of the term would
provide greater clarity to the anticorruption work conducted by ACLEI, while
serving to more effectively delineate corruption issues from issues better
handled by other agencies.
The committee recommended that ACLEI, the Commonwealth Ombudsman,
the APSC, the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) and the AGD:
...develop a more detailed and comprehensive definition of
corruption for the purposes of the [LEIC Act]. A proposed definition should be
circulated for public consultation, including this committee, no later than
It added that a detailed definition of corruption would also have
an added advantage of providing a:
...stronger basis for the reporting and measurement of
corruption issues. An appropriate definition may have applicability to the
broader Commonwealth integrity system.
The government agreed in principle to that recommendation,
The Government agrees
that the definition of corruption must be clear and appropriate, noting that
the definition has relevance beyond the [LEIC Act]. The Government accordingly
agrees that the [AGD] will work with relevant agencies to clarify the
definition of corruption for the purposes of the [LEIC Act] and undertake
public consultation on this issue.
The outcome of this
work could be either guidance concerning the definition or an amendment to the
[LEIC Act] to clarify the definition itself.
Despite this response, there remains no explicit definition of
corruption in the LEIC Act. Further, it is notable that no changes were
made to the definitions associated with corruption in the LEIC Act—which remain
as they were when the government's response was provided—as a result of this
Australian Federal Police Act 1979
The AFP Act provides that 'corrupt conduct' also means 'engages
in corrupt conduct' and refers to the definition in the LEIC Act. This Act also
defines 'corruption offence' in respect of the loss of certain superannuation
rights and benefits, substantially similar to the definition which appears in
the Crimes (Superannuation Benefits) Act 1989:
corruption offence means an offence by a person
who was an AFP employee or an old law member or staff member at the time when
it was committed, being an offence:
commission involved an abuse by the person of his or her office as such a
having regard to the powers and duties of such a person, as the case may be,
was committed for a purpose that involved corruption; or
was committed for the purpose of perverting, or attempting to pervert, the
course of justice.
Australian Border Force Act 2015
The Australian Border Force Act 2015 contains its own
definition of 'engages in corrupt conduct' specific to DIBP workers:
...if the worker, while an Immigration and Border Protection worker,
- conduct that:
- involves; or
engaged in for the purpose (or for purposes including the purpose) of;
the worker abusing his or her
position as an Immigration and Border Protection worker; or
- conduct that:
- perverts; or
engaged in for the purpose (or for purposes including the purpose) of
the course of justice; or
that, having regard to the duties and powers of the worker as an Immigration
and Border Protection worker:
- involves; or
engaged in for the purpose (or for purposes including the purpose) of;
corruption of any other kind.
Definitions of corruption for the purposes
of intelligence agencies
Australia's intelligence agencies—the Australian Security
Intelligence Organisation (ASIO); the Australian Secret Intelligence Service;
the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD); the Australian Geospatial‐Intelligence
Organisation; the Defence Intelligence Organisation (DIO); and the Office of
National Assessments (ONA)—are overseen by the Inspector-General of
Intelligence and Security (IGIS),
pursuant to the Inspector‑General of Intelligence and Security Act
1986 (IGIS Act).
The IGIS noted in its submission that it:
...also has functions
under the Public Interest Disclosure Act 2013 (PID Act) in relation to
disclosures by current and former public officials about conduct relating to
intelligence agencies. The definition of disclosable conduct in the PID Act
includes maladministration, abuse of public trust and corruption.
Although there is no definition of 'corruption' or 'corrupt
conduct' in the IGIS Act or PID Act, in its submission, the IGIS provided
some examples of what it considers to be misconduct, noting that no
investigations conducted under the IGIS Act or PID Act have 'indicated anything
approaching widespread misconduct or corruption':
For example in 2011
there was an inquiry into allegations of inappropriate security vetting
practices; in 2010 there was an inquiry into the possible compromise of a
compliance test, and in 2009 there was an inquiry into allegations that ASD had
spied on the Defence Minister. Since the introduction of the PID Act the IGIS
office has been notified of a small number of disclosures concerning alleged
misconduct in procurement and has received a number of disclosures alleging
maladministration in staffing matters.
Agencies comprising the multi-agency framework
The current Commonwealth integrity system is referred to as the 'multi-agency
framework'. At its core, the multi-agency framework consists of a number of key
agencies with specific legislative responsibilities to address and prevent
corruption. These agencies
Australian Electoral Commission (AEC);
Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC); and
The legislation that governs these agencies, according to the
APSC, provides the Commonwealth with:
...an effective framework defining the reach and expertise of
those agencies. It operates to limit their reach to that intended by
Parliament. It has also resulted, in practice, in those agencies having
specialist expertise in their respective fields.
The AGD provided the committee with an outline of the
Commonwealth's integrity framework, and argued that this 'robust system'
provides the Commonwealth with the appropriate 'safeguards against corruption'
and supports the government's 'zero-tolerance approach to corruption in all its
The AGD reassured the committee that collaboration between it and its partner
agencies ensures that the 'legal and policy frameworks against corruption
Under the current integrity framework:
...the strategic dispersion of responsibility amongst a range
of agencies promotes accountability and creates a strong system of checks and
balances. It protects against abuse of power within Australia's anticorruption
framework by ensuring a high level of oversight in the development and
implementation of anticorruption policy.
The AGD argued that the current framework has enabled agencies to
develop the necessary expertise and institutional knowledge to combat specific
corruption risks. Specialised agencies include the AFP's Fraud and
Anti-corruption Centre (FAC), that centralises the:
...capabilities and expertise of a broad range of Commonwealth
agencies to address corrupt activities and risks. It has developed expertise in
investigating serious and complex corruption offences, including fraud and
The AGD also referred to ACLEI as a key agency with:
...specialist knowledge of corruption risks that face and are
likely to face law enforcement agencies. ACLEI draws upon this knowledge and
assists agencies with the design of tailored corruption prevention strategies,
including developing risk assessments and control plans.
The Commonwealth Ombudsman informed the committee that, in its
view, the current integrity framework is:
...for the most part, adequate and reasonable. The division of
responsibility promotes accountability and transparency and can protect against
abuse of power within the anticorruption framework itself.
This framework, according to the AGD, is also supported by
Australia's democratic system of representative government, the judiciary, the
press and civil society. These institutions:
...play an important role in protecting against corruption by
enabling and encouraging scrutiny of both the public and private sectors. We
are conscious that we must keep lifting the bar to ensure that Australia
remains at the forefront of promoting transparency, integrity and
The AGD is the lead government department responsible for the
Commonwealth's domestic and international anti-corruption policy, including:
counter-terrorism financing regimes;
Commonwealth fraud control; and
the Protective Security Policy Framework.
Prior to the 2013 election, the AGD was tasked with developing a
National Anti‑Corruption Plan, which was not finalised.
In addition to its domestic work, the AGD has a key role in
Australia's engagement with international anti-corruption forums aimed at
combatting corruption, money laundering and foreign bribery. These forums are
the United Nations (UN) Convention against Corruption;
the UN Convention against Transnational Organised Crime;
the G20 Anti-Corruption Working Group;
the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Anti-Corruption and
Transparency Working Group;
the Financial Action Task Force;
the Asia-Pacific Group on Money Laundering; and
the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Working
Group on Bribery.
As the overarching coordinator in the prevention, detection and
response to corruption, the AGD endeavours 'to ensure the legal and policy
frameworks are effective' and administers the Criminal Code and the Crimes Act.
Further, the committee heard that the AGD is also Australia's authority for
extradition and mutual assistance arrangements.
Domestic laws that target corruption, for which the AGD is
responsible, include police powers in the Crimes Act, and offences under the
Criminal Code, such as:
misuse of public office; and
fraud against the Commonwealth.
Australian Federal Police
The AFP is the primary law enforcement agency responsible for the
investigation of serious or complex fraud and corruption against the
Commonwealth. A dedicated centre within the AFP, known as the FAC, was
established by the government in July 2014. The FAC delivers a
whole-of-government approach to investigating fraud and corruption by bringing
together the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), ASIC, the Australian Criminal
Intelligence Commission (ACIC), AUSTRAC, the DIBP, the Department of Human
Services, the Department of Defence and the Department of Foreign Affairs and
Trade. The AGD and the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions (CDPP) also
act as advisory members of the FAC.
According to the AGD, the FAC is tasked with facilitating:
...the referral of evaluations, triage and review for FAC
matters, provides fraud training for Commonwealth agencies, gather intelligence
and facilities agency secondment and joint activity coordination.
A FAC factsheet describes the referral system. The FAC:
...will triage and evaluate serious and complex fraud and
corruption referrals, where the referring agency has sought an AFP
investigation or assistance and the allegation meets the criteria below:
the allegation relates to an
offence of foreign bribery or
the allegation relates to any AFP
"Fraud" incident type under the AFP Case Categorisation
Prioritisation Model (CCPM),
and any of the following circumstances exist—
the investigation is expected to
exceed six months;
the alleged value of the fraud
involves criminal or corrupt
behaviour by Australian government employees;
involves bribing of Australian Government
involves multiple offenders acting
together in an organised way to perpetrate the crime;
involves the repeated commission
of offences over a number of years; [and]
exposes a serious vulnerability in
government systems, funding or revenue.
The AGD's submission to the 2016 Select Committee on the
establishment of a National Integrity Commission (2016 select committee)
provided an overview of the FAC's role in the Commonwealth's integrity
framework. The FAC's work focuses on:
strengthening the capabilities of law enforcement agencies to
respond to serious and complex fraud, foreign bribery, corruption by employees
of the Commonwealth, and complex identity crime;
co-ordinating the Commonwealth's operational response for matters
requiring a joint agency approach; and the
protection of Australia's finances.
The submission highlighted the FAC's multi-agency framework,
noting it allows for the consideration of a 'range of responses based on the
contributions of all agencies involved' that may include 'civil and
administrative penalties based on the legislation, regulation and policy of the
relevant agencies; up to and include criminal prosecution'.
Further, the FAC supports:
the monitoring of financial crime behaviour and identifies
policy, regulation and legislative reform;
collaboration between the public and private sectors to promote
financial crime prevention and education;
'agencies to address underlying systematic weaknesses and promote
structural and cultural change to ensure Commonwealth agencies are robust';
state and territory integrity agencies if a corruption matter
falls outside of the Commonwealth's jurisdiction; and
joint operations with ACLEI.
The FAC's headquarters are in Canberra, with teams also based in
Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide
In July 2015, the FAC received $127.6 in million funding over
four years for the Serious Financial Crime Taskforce. This taskforce's focus is
on 'identifying and treating the threats posed by serious financial crime'.
In April 2016, the government announced a further $14.7 million allocated to
the FAC to expand its investigatory capability and 'bolster Australia's
capability to respond to foreign bribery'.
This funding supported an additional 26 specialist investigators, forensic
accountants and litigators.
The AFP informed the committee that although the additional funding supplements
the capabilities to investigate foreign bribery in its Sydney, Melbourne and
Perth offices, it also:
...allowed a sort of flow-on effect of the capabilities that
may have been focused on those to be freed up to look at broader fraud and
corruption based issues, both in those centres but more broadly across the
The AFP also stated:
Whilst we are allocated funding across the organisation, it
is hard to tie it down to specific investigations, because the AFP's budget is
such that it covers a range of different capabilities, both investigative, but
other specialist skills, that are applied when we determine the most effective
treatment that we will put against an issue, and then we work out how we
prioritise each of those individual investigations and then we apply the
resources to those to get the most effective treatment.
The committee sought clarification from the AFP on the
characterisation of its investigations, and whether more work occurs on foreign
bribery or domestic corruption. In response, the AFP said it was difficult to
There are a number of high-profile investigations that are
currently being undertaken in the foreign bribery space. Importantly, there are
the resources that go into some of those investigations and they go over an
extended period of time. We previously reported to the committee that, within
the findings of the 41 OECD nations, the average investigations in this space
go for about 7.3 years and about 46 per cent of those go for between five and
10 years. So our resource commitment to those investigations from start to
finalisation is extensive. But that does not mean that, where we are looking at
other key issues of both fraud and corruption that exist in the space and sit
under the mandate of the AFP, and more broadly within the FAC Centre, it is not
prioritised. We prioritise those investigations depending on how they are
referred to us.
The great length of many foreign bribery investigations is due to
evidence being sought from international jurisdictions. That said, the
committee was advised that the AFP is working with its international and
domestic partners to reduce the time frames of these investigations through
legislative reforms and new initiatives, such as:
...looking at different ways of how we manage, in a very
proactive way, legal professional privilege. We are looking at proactive ways
to address mutual assistance requests with our partners. We are looking to put
better analysis and assessment across a range of the offending which occurs
over that period of time to try to identify where we might get the best and
most effective outcome in terms of where we put our investigative resources.
When I say 'our investigative resources', I do not just mean the traditional
investigator; I also mean our technical capabilities that sit across the
On notice, the AFP further addressed a concern raised with the
committee that the FAC is too strongly focused on foreign bribery matters. The
AFP acknowledged that foreign bribery investigations:
...have been a particular area of focus for the AFP in recent
years; however the foreign bribery crime type is only one crime type within the
remit of the [FAC].
The AFP further explained that the:
...increased focus on foreign bribery matters has been in
response to specific issues identified by the [OECD], however this has not
resulted in foreign bribery matters being progressed at the detriment of other
crime types, including allegations of corruption relevant to Commonwealth
The AFP referred to the CCPM and highlighted that 'corruption
matters involving Commonwealth officials are characterised at the same level or
higher than foreign bribery matters'.
The AFP described the process for determining whether to conduct
an investigation. The AFP reassured the committee that:
...no single element of the CCPM is considered in isolation.
Instead, the AFP considers a combination of the model’s Impact and Priority ratings.
Further, each matter is assessed on an individual basis. As a general rule, one
referral is not assessed in the context of another.
The FAC Centre brings together the capabilities of 12
Australian Government agencies to assess, prioritise and respond to serious and
complex fraud and corruption matters, including corruption by Australian
Government employees, foreign bribery and complex identity crime. The FAC
Centre places equal priority across these crime types.
The FAC Centre model allows for consultation and negotiation
regarding resources to be undertaken in a whole-of-government context and means
the AFP can leverage of the resources and capabilities of other agencies.
Following the evaluation of the referral by the FAC Centre,
matters which are accepted for investigation by the AFP are then assigned to an
AFP investigation team, usually within the Criminal Assets, Fraud and
Anti-Corruption (CAFAC) Business Area. The CAFAC Business Area is the same area
of the AFP that hosts the FAC Centre.
The AFP and the FAC Centre employs a resource management
strategy that ensures the flexible application of resources to activities that
are likely to have the greatest impact on criminal networks and security
threats, both within Australia and overseas.
In practice this means the AFP is able to redirect resources
to high priority matters on an as-needed basis, such as by providing a surge
capacity for the FAC Centre to assess a sensitive or time critical referral of
corruption or when investigative actions in the CAFAC Business Area move into
significant overt phases.
The AFP detailed the nature of domestic corruption investigations
and the collaboration between agencies to identify vulnerabilities and draw
together evidence for investigations:
...people are developing processes or doing things to try to
conceal their behaviour. We are looking for ways to not only work with partners
to identify where those issues and those vulnerabilities may sit within systems
but also how we can more effectively, through analysis and other technical
capabilities, bring forward the opportunities for us to draw evidence in those
investigations. They are not overly different from some of the challenges we
have in broader serious and complex organised crime investigations. The legislation
that we may be working with is different and the partners that we work with are
different, but overall we have certainly shown in some of those investigations
that it is very effective.
The committee was informed that since the inception of the FAC in
July 2014 to 30 April 2017 there were 34 referrals relating to corruption.
These include 17 allegations of cases of abuse of public office; five
alleged cases of receiving/bribery as a Commonwealth Public Official; two cases
of alleged theft; one alleged case of obtaining financial advantage by
deception; and nine other offences against the Corporations Act 2001 (Corporations
Act), Criminal Code, and the PID Act.
Of those 34 referrals: two are subject to evaluation; seven are
ongoing investigations; one investigation has been finalised; and 24 were
rejected and not investigated by the AFP. The primary reasons for the
rejections were insufficient evidence (14 instances); no Commonwealth criminal
offence was identified (four instances); five cases were referred to
another agency or department for further investigation; and one matter was
returned to the complainant, with the AFP recommending it be referred to
The AFP informed the committee that the five matters referred to another agency/department
were because: they did not meet the AFP thresholds; the AFP believed the
referring agency was best placed to investigate the matter; and/or the matter
had already been investigated by or referred to the other agency or department.
In addition to investigations into corruption, between July 2014
and April 2017 the FAC received 130 referrals relating to matters of
fraud, foreign bribery and identity crime.
The committee was informed that the AFP did not consider current
legislation a hindrance to its ability to conduct investigations into
allegations of corruption. The AFP remarked:
...the legislation is effective and provides us options in the
initial part of an investigation. If it is something where we would think,
'Clearly this is a fraud or this is a theft', due to the investigation and the
way we go about actually exploring it, it might indicate to us there is a
different form of offending, which might be an abuse of office or a bribery
issue. As it stands, the current legislative framework that we have is
Further, the AFP added that it works closely with the AGD:
...on a continuous basis to review the efficacy of the laws and
the offences provisions and the powers available to us. It is an ongoing
discussion, and that is why there have been reforms over the last few years.
There are discussions papers out at the moment regarding deferred prosecution
agreements and things of that nature, so while we certainly would not say the
regime is perfect, it is, as Officer Crozier said, largely effective, and we
continue to refine it where we can.
Collaboration and co-operation
In addition to its engagement with AGD, the FAC's operations have
meant it is able to:
...understand some of the issues that are happening within
agencies and where we may be able not just to assist in terms of a treatment in
the criminal space but also to assist agencies identify potential
The value and importance of co-operation in the fraud and
anti-corruption space was reflected upon by Commander Peter Crozier, Manager,
Criminal Assets, Fraud and Anti-Corruption, AFP. Commander Crozier's
observation, in his current and previous roles, has been about:
...the effectiveness of partnerships and being able to bring
agencies together. To get a better understanding of what is happening in an
area and a potential fraud type, it is always better to get those people who
know. For a long time, in my experience, I thought I had the answers, but
often, if other agencies, who know their policies, their processes and their
issues far better than I do, are able to be brought into a centre such as that,
we can share that experience and understand what it is we are looking at and
what options are available to us to treat those issues.
One aspect of the co-operation between the AFP and other agencies
is that these other agencies are often involved in the AFP's evaluation of a
matter. In these instances, consideration is given to whether a matter is a
criminal matter, or should be dealt with internally via a code of conduct process.
The AFP reassured the committee that, if a matter is referred back to an
agency, the AFP would continue to engage in the process to improve and change
behaviour. The reason for this level of engagement is that the AFP does not:
...want an agency being disenfranchised or not being able to
deal with an issue and then that issue permeating and going on and on and on
and eventually coming back to us in another form because processes have fallen
down. We continue to engage, address vulnerabilities and build that resilience
within agencies, and, importantly, build those relationships and networks so we
can have that exchange.
Internationally, the AFP also participates in a number of forums
relating to anti-corruption, such as the:
OECD Working Group on Bribery;
the International Foreign Bribery Taskforce;
the G20 Anti-Corruption Working Group; and
the Financial Action Task Force.
Australian Commission for Law
The ACLEI is the only federal agency dedicated to the
'prevention, detection, investigation and prosecution of corruption'.
It was established in 2006 by the LEIC Act. The objectives of the LEIC Act are:
- to facilitate:
detection of corrupt conduct in law enforcement agencies; and
investigation of corruption issues that relate to law enforcement agencies; and
enable criminal offences to be prosecuted, and civil penalty proceedings to be
brought, following those investigations; and
- to prevent corrupt conduct in law enforcement
maintain and improve the integrity of staff members of law enforcement
ACLEI is an impartial and independent statutory authority whose
primary role is 'to detect and investigate law enforcement-related corruption
issues, giving priority to systemic and serious corruption' and make
'administrative findings about the conduct of individuals'.
The Integrity Commissioner may make recommendations for changes to 'laws and
administrative practices of government agencies that might contribute to
corrupt practices or prevent their early detection' and 'report annually on any
patterns and trends concerning corruption in law enforcement agencies'.
Investigation options and powers
ACLEI can independently determine how it deals with 'allegations,
information and intelligence about corrupt conduct concerning agencies' within
its jurisdiction. Priority, however, must be given to serious or systemic
corruption. There is no requirement that ACLEI investigate every allegation or all
information about corruption and may choose to:
investigate a corruption issue;
refer a corruption issue to a law enforcement agency for it to
conduct an internal investigation and report its findings to ACLEI;
refer a corruption issue to the AFP, unless the AFP is
investigate a corruption issue in partnership with another
government agency or a state integrity agency; or
take no further action.
Section 27 of the LEIC Act sets out how the Integrity
Commissioner deals with a corruption issue. Priority is given to corruption
issues that may:
indicate a link between law enforcement and organised crime;
involve suspected conduct
that would undermine a law enforcement agency's function;
bring into doubt the integrity of senior law enforcement
relate to law enforcement activities with a higher inherent
warrant the use of the Integrity Commissioner's
information-gathering powers, including conducting hearings; or
would otherwise benefit from an independent investigation.
The Integrity Commissioner may also prioritise corruption issues 'that
have a nexus to the law enforcement character of the agencies in [ACLEI's]
jurisdiction, having regard to the objects of the LEIC Act'.
Key investigative powers available to the Integrity Commissioner
under Part 9 the LEIC Act are:
notices to produce information, documents or things;
summons to attend an information-gathering hearing, answer
questions and give sworn evidence, and/or to produce documents or things;
intrusive information-gathering (covert);
electronic and physical surveillance;
scrutiny of financial transactions; and
access to specialised information databases for law enforcement
right of entry to law enforcement premises and associated search
and seizure powers;
integrity testing; and
arrest (relating to the investigation of a corruption issue).
It is also an offence for an individual 'not to comply with
notices, not to answer truthfully in hearings, or otherwise to be in contempt
The Integrity Commissioner is also an approved authority under
the Witness Protection Act 1994 and is therefore able to provide
witness identity protection for operatives.
On the matter of hearings, the Integrity Commissioner has
discretionary power to hold a public or private hearing
under section 82 of the LEIC Act.
The Integrity Commissioner explained to the committee the
internal process that must occur when considering a public hearing. ACLEI first
considers the intelligence available and then considers what is happening in
other environments, such as the courts or police investigations. ACLEI will:
...cast our net very wide and then I will go to the criteria
that are in the act. The first of those is to consider whether or not
confidential information will be disclosed. As you would appreciate, that is a
very broad brush. It might be commercial in confidence, contractual matters or
personal financial circumstances. It might be medical in confidence, it might
be psychology in confidence or it might be legal in confidence—the full range
of issues that I must address there.
The second limb of that first test is: will there be
information that gives rise to the possible commission of an offence, a
criminal offence? Again, that has to be a broad consideration because there may
be police investigations underway into the same or similar matters. If I were
to conduct a public hearing, I might prejudice those police investigations or
there may be court proceedings and I would run the risk of prejudicing a fair
trial to a person. So the issues surrounding that second limb of the first test
Having addressed the first limb, I then move to consider the
unfair prejudice to the persons involved. As you would appreciate, that is a
complex consideration as well. The test does not talk about unfairness to an
individual; it talks about unfair prejudice to the reputation of a person.
There are a number of concepts involved in that phraseology. It is not just a
simple unfairness test. You might reflect for a moment on the Victorian matter,
the IBAC, where it was decided that a public hearing was necessary even though
it affected people's reputations. There were matters of very significant public
interest there, I think, for the parents of the children at the schools in
Victoria where the money that was supposed to be for the children was going
into another place. So there was a weighing up there, and I have to look at
similar sorts of questions. That then comes to the final test of the public
interest, which is affected by the two that have gone before, really—I have to
weigh that up as well—and then, finally, any other relevant information, of
which there may be a multitude.
We do that on each and every occasion. We document it. It is
a reviewable document. It is a statement of reasons under the Administrative
Decisions (Judicial Review) Act, or the Federal Court can review it. It is
ACLEI also has the power to exonerate a person if, through a preliminary
intelligence review, it considers there to be no cause to suspect alleged
wrongdoing. In such instances, ACLEI will report to the head of an agency with
its evidence to support the exoneration of an individual.
Since ACLEI's inception, there have been 33 successful
prosecutions (two of which are under appeal). The committee was advised that,
as at 7 April 2017 there were a further eight prosecutions in progress.
Section 6 of the LEIC Act states the meaning of 'engages in corrupt
conduct' is when a staff member of a law enforcement agency engages in:
- conduct that involves, or that is
engaged in for the purpose of, the staff member abusing his or her office as a
staff member of the agency; or
conduct that perverts, or that is
engaged in for the purpose of perverting, the course of justice; or
conduct that, having regard to the duties
and powers of the staff member as a staff member of the agency, involves, or is
engaged in for the purpose of, corruption of any other kind.
Provisions are also made for ACLEI to prosecute its own staff,
and members of the public or employees of other government agencies.
Section 10 of the LEIC Act defines staff members of law enforcement agencies
under ACLEI's jurisdiction, including provisions for secondees and contractors.
There have been three iterations of ACLEI's jurisdiction.
Initially, ACLEI's jurisdiction included the AFP,
the National Crime Authority
and the then ACC
with the intention of progressively including other law enforcement agencies
into its jurisdiction by regulations.
ACLEI's jurisdiction first expanded in 2011 to include the then Australian
Customs and Border Protection Service (Customs).
Further additions were made in 2013, with the inclusion of AUSTRAC,
CrimTrac and certain quarantine-related functions of the then Department of
Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (now the Department of Agriculture and
Which Agriculture staff members are included in ACLEI's jurisdiction is
specified under section 7 the Law Enforcement Integrity Commissioner
In 2015, ACLEI's jurisdiction was expanded once again to include
the entirety of the DIBP including the Australian Border Force (ABF), which had
integrated Customs' functions.
ACLEI investigations frequently focus on corruption-enabled
border crime, namely instances of officials facilitating the importation of
illicit drugs and other contraband into Australia. Since the inclusion of DIBP
in its entirety, ACLEI has seen an increase in the number of corruption
investigations into areas of border regulation, such as biosecurity and visa
operations. ACLEI's submission stated the:
...potential impacts of this form of corruption may vary—such
as advancing the interests of one business entity over another for economic
advantage (resulting from a bribe), or enabling money laundering to occur (as
part of organised criminal activity).
The PJCACLEI has considered ACLEI's jurisdiction on two occasions:
initially in a 2011 report on its inquiry into the operation of the Law
Enforcement Integrity Commissioner Act 2006; and more recently in its
inquiry into the jurisdiction of the ACLEI (tabled 5 May 2016).
Inquiry into the operation of the
Law Enforcement Integrity Commissioner Act 2006
The PCJACLEI tabled two reports as part of its inquiry into the operation
of the LEIC Act. The interim report recommended that Customs be prescribed as a
law enforcement agency under the LEIC Act and that ACLEI become adequately
resourced to detect, prevent and investigate corruption 'in an agency of the
size and complexity of [Customs]'.
These two recommendations were agreed to by government
and subsequently led to Customs being added to ACLEI's jurisdiction in January
PJCACLEI's final report considered ACLEI's jurisdiction in more
detail, including ACLEI's proposal for a tiered model for its jurisdiction.
This model would consist of three tiers:
Tier one applies to agencies with 'significant law enforcement
functions' and 'high inherent corruption risks'. These agencies would have a
mandatory relationship with ACLEI and would be compelled by legislation to
inform the Integrity Commissioner of any potential corruption issues. ACLEI
would be required to provide agencies with a corruption risk assessment,
preventing and awareness-raising assistance.
Tier two applies to agencies with important law enforcement
functions and lower inherent corruption risks. These agencies would have the
power to use discretion on whether a matter is referred to ACLEI, and could
seek assistance with a corruption risk assessment and advice.
Tier three agencies would include all other Commonwealth agencies
that do not have a high or intermediate level of risk. These agencies could
seek advice from ACLEI, potentially on either a cost-recovery or
fee-for-service basis. These agencies would not have a mandated relationship
with ACLEI and would not have the ability to refer a corruption issue to ACLEI.
The committee provided in-principle support for the tiered model
proposed by ACLEI. It stated the first tier was already in existence, through
prescribed agencies under the LEIC Act. The second tier, in the committee's
view, was desirable for two reasons.
The first was that it would expand ACLEI's corruption oversight,
without impacting adversely on 'ACLEI's effectiveness and ability to manage
with current resources'.
The committee expressed a concern that expanding ACLEI's jurisdiction would risk
overburdening the agency and reduce its effectiveness.
Secondly, these second tier agencies would form a relationship
with ACLEI, 'building resistance to corruption in these agencies through
education, awareness raising and ongoing communication'. In addition:
ACLEI would develop a greater understanding of the corruption
risk profile of tier two agencies [and] provide a growing knowledge-base that
could prompt future revisions of ACLEI's jurisdiction, including the movement
of tier two agencies to tier one agencies'.
To ensure ACLEI's independence, the committee advocated for the
Integrity Commissioner to have the power to initiate an investigation or
inquiry into tier two agencies on his or her own initiative.
The second tier agencies identified in the report were: the ATO,
CrimTrac, AUSTRAC, the then Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service and
the then Department of Immigration and Citizenship.
As of 2017, all of these agencies (current and former), except for the ATO, are
now subject to ACLEI's jurisdiction.
The committee also acknowledged arguments in favour of including under
the LEIC Act agencies that provide briefs to the CDPP and those in the Heads of
Commonwealth Law Enforcement Agencies group. For this reason, the committee
recommended a review be conducted two years after the establishment of a tiered
jurisdiction model to determine whether additional agencies should be added to,
or existing agencies moved within, the tiered structure.
The committee was less supportive of the proposed third tier. It
acknowledged that ACLEI:
...should have some involvement in the provision of corruption
prevention advice and education about corruption risks to the broader public
service. However, the committee does not consider that amendment of the LEIC
Act to establish a third tier of jurisdiction is required to achieve this.
The PJCACLEI had two concerns with the proposed third tier. The
first concern was that it would divert resources away from ACLEI's core
investigatory functions. PJCACLEI's second concern, which accorded with
comments made by the APSC, was 'the need to maintain a coordinated approach to
public service-wide education and training'.
The APSC stated:
The ethical framework within which the Public Service
operates is very broad. The messages that we are sending out are not simply
about breaches of the law; our messages are about doing the right thing. It is
an ethical construct that is much bigger than a particular focus on corruption.
It covers corruption, but it is much bigger than that.
The APSC also stated:
One of the important things there is to minimise the number
of separate messages being sent. You confuse people when you send messages that
appear to be overlapping and kind of unclear. The code of conduct makes it
absolutely crystal clear. If you act illegally or abuse power you are in breach
of the code of conduct. That is a serious issue. We argue you do not really
need another agency to say exactly the same thing.
The committee reiterated its support for ACLEI to continue its
engagement with the APSC and recommended that:
ACLEI and the Australian Public Service Commission continue
to collaborate in the development of ethics training provided to public
servants to include corruption prevention using ACLEI's specialised experience
The government response to the report, received in February 2012,
explained that the government would consider whether it would be appropriate to
expand ACLEI's jurisdiction to include additional agencies that have a law
enforcement function. The government advised the PJCACLEI that no further
changes would be made for a period of '12 to 18 months for ACLEI to consolidate
its existing jurisdiction following the inclusion of [Customs]' and '[t]hat
experience can then be used to properly inform any further expansion of ACLEI's
The government did not support the PJCACLEI's recommendation that
a second tier function be developed within ACLEI. The government response
stated that those agencies:
...are subject to the [Public Service Act 1999 (PS Act)]
and as such are bound by the APS Values and Code of Conduct. These agencies
also have existing internal and external corruption prevention and
The government supported the PJCACLEI's recommendation for ACLEI
and the APSC to:
...collaborate as appropriate in the development of ethics
training provided to public servants to promote the importance of appropriate
behaviours, including avoidance of corruption activity.
Inquiry into the jurisdiction of
the Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity
The PJCACLEI reported on ACLEI's jurisdiction again in May 2016.
The following agencies were considered in the report:
the DIBP; and
other areas within Agriculture.
The committee also considered the merits of a National Integrity
The PCJACLEI's consideration of each of these agencies, except
DIBP, is outlined below.
of Agriculture and Water Resources
As noted above, the LEIC Act and associated regulations prescribe
certain positions within Agriculture that are included within ACLEI's
These positions include:
the departmental Secretary;
members of staff that undertake assessments, clearance or control
of vessels or cargo imported into Australia; and
members of staff that have access to the Integrated Cargo System.
The PJCACLEI expressed concern about an instance of
jurisdictional uncertainty over Agriculture's staff and that:
...this uncertainty poses a real risk for future ACLEI
investigations involving agencies such as Agriculture where partial ACLEI
coverage is prescribed.
A further concern was expressed about 'back office' risks posed
by staff such as information technology administrators, which the jurisdictional
constraints imposed by the LEIC regulations prevent ACLEI from addressing.
ACLEI told the PJCACLEI these back office staff are at risk of corruption
because they 'support, or have access to, the agency's law enforcement
functions, information, decision-making powers, staff and systems' and 'may be
soft targets and are as attractive and vulnerable to subversion or coercion by
criminal groups as law enforcement personnel'.
The PJCACLEI shared this concern, and added that ACLEI's
investigations may be artificially constrained by current jurisdictional
limitations if an agency is only partially included in its jurisdiction. For
this reason, the committee supported ACLEI's call for whole-of-agency coverage
and subsequently recommended amendments to the LEIC Act to include Agriculture
in ALCEI's jurisdiction in its entirety.
The PJCACLEI's consideration of the ATO under ACLEI's
jurisdiction continued on from its inquiry into the operation of the LEIC Act.
The PJCACLEI noted its earlier recommendation for the ATO to be included in a
second tier arrangement; however, it acknowledged that this model had not been
adopted by government, and was unlikely to be implemented in the near future.
For this reason the PJCACLEI recommended the government 'initiate an independent
assessment of the [ATO's] corruption risk profile, together with an examination
of the feasibility of including the [ATO] within ACLEI's jurisdiction'.
Department and the Australian Securities and Investment Commission
The committee also considered, and rejected, calls for ACLEI to
have oversight of the AGD and the ASIC, arguing both agencies' overall
corruption risk remain relatively low.
The Integrity Commissioner informed the committee that PCJACLEI's
propositions to expand ACLEI's jurisdiction are under consideration by
When asked to reflect upon the evolution of ACLEI's jurisdiction, Mr Griffin
If you look at the title of the act and the title of the
agency, law enforcement is front and centre there. But that definition has
expanded over the 10 years in the three iterations...and I think it is reasonable
to conclude that it has moved from the coalface of policing—that is, the AFP
and the Crime Commission—into other areas of law enforcement that are equally
as important and potentially more susceptible to corruption. That is, these are
not people who are trained law enforcement officials in the sense of a police
officer and therefore perhaps not as well trained in dealing with the
attentions of organised crime and others to corrupt them.
The Integrity Commissioner agreed that the potential inclusion of
the ATO would mean ACLEI would move past the scope of its original Act, and
referred to the inclusion in the AFP's FAC of agencies that are not law
enforcement agencies, such as the ATO. The Integrity Commissioner stated that
such agencies nevertheless 'have at their disposal, in the normal course of
their work, information that is of critical importance to government but also
extraordinarily valuable in many cases to organised crime'.
Collaboration and co-operation
The LEIC Act allows ACLEI to work jointly or collaboratively with
agencies under its jurisdiction. These activities range:
...from the joint investigation of information and allegations,
to sharing expertise in corporate functions and training. Staff exchanges are
also essential to the functioning of ACLEI—both to respond to fluctuations in
the number and complexity of investigations, and to assist in building a
sector-wide, professional cadre of anti-corruption specialists.
The heads of agencies under ACLEI's jurisdiction are required, by
law, to notify the Integrity Commissioner 'of any information or allegation
that raises a corruption issue in his or her agency'
and the Integrity Commissioner may disclose information to agency heads if
appropriate to do so.
Members of the public, other government agencies and the Minister for Justice
may also report allegations of corrupt conduct to ACLEI. Further, corruption
issues may be referred to ACLEI if they are revealed through telecommunication
interception activities (under the Telecommunications (Interception and
Access) Act 1979), or by whistleblowers.
The Integrity Commissioner is also exempt from the operation of the Privacy
Act 1988, which reflects 'the importance of ACLEI's collection and
ACLEI also educates agencies about possible systemic
vulnerabilities identified though its investigation and intelligence gathering
functions. These findings contribute to law enforcement 'agencies' own efforts to
manage corruption risks and protect integrity'.
Agencies may also seek support from ACLEI to design corruption prevention
strategies, including risk assessments and control plans, and conducting
'specialised vulnerabilities assessments, which draws together lessons and
observations about potential weaknesses in agency operating environments'.
More broadly, the Integrity Commissioner is of the view that the
inflow of work received by ACLEI 'reflects a healthy agency environment where
this is a willingness to report corruption'.
During Mr Griffin's tenure as Integrity Commissioner, he has seen a:
...cultural shift in the community and public sector, a
heightened awareness of corruption and also a willingness to call it out where
it is observed. In the agencies for which I have responsibility and the
jurisdiction, what we have seen in that time is a very pronounced emphasis on
integrity and corruption, and internal measures to deal with that. That is
partly the reason our workload has increased—because the awareness in those
agencies of the risk of corruption, the emphasis from strong leadership about
calling it out and, also, to a degree, a shift in—I think it is not unreasonable
to use the term—what could, once upon a time, have been considered 'you do not
dob in your mates in the workplace'. That is the cultural shift that I am
observing. We are now seeing an understanding on the part of the people in our
jurisdiction that it is not dobbing on your mates but actually protecting the
public's interest and protecting the agency's interest. It is a form of
self-defence. I think that accounts for the increase in the material that is
coming to us, because the agencies are maturing themselves and are having that
leadership and that cultural approach. I think that is reflected in, as you
said, the public reaction to corruption as it is perceived. So the public has
moved in that way. I think it is happening across the board.
Other collaborative arrangements include ACLEI's educative
function with respect to various agencies, as well as engaging with other key
agencies, such as the APSC and the AGD, to share insights into what is going on
in the public sector environment.
Further, ACLEI engages with the state integrity agencies and police forces,
through mechanisms such as the Australian Anti-corruption Commissions Forum.
ACLEI is held accountable by a number of external bodies,
including the judiciary, the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT), the
Parliament and the Commonwealth Ombudsman.
The exercise of some of ACLEI's powers must be approved by a judge,
magistrate or designated official from the AAT. A warrant must be sought to:
conduct a search; use a surveillance device; intercept telecommunications or
access stored communications; order a person to deliver his or her passport; or
to arrest an individual. The use of certain powers may also require a report to
be submitted to the Attorney-General, the Minister for Justice and in some
The Parliament, through the PJCACLEI, also monitors and reviews
ACLEI's performance, its annual reports and any special reports released by the
ACLEI's Integrity Commissioner reported to the committee that he had 'very good
engagement with the committee:
...so much so that the new members of the committee invited me
to travel with them as they went to a number of centres around the country and
were briefed on the corruption risk issues in those environments. That provided
the committee the opportunity to engage with me and with my senior officers. I
think that was a very fruitful exercise because it also gave me the benefit
first-hand of understanding what it was that was exercising the minds of the
members of the committee. So I think it is a very valuable activity. I am not
sure if we are the only agency that is the single client of a particular
parliamentary joint committee, but it is a very powerful process. We have a
good engagement and I will have the opportunity to brief the members of the
committee regularly during the course of the year—or that has been the case to
Another accountability mechanism is provided by the Commonwealth
Ombudsman's power to investigate concerns or complaints from the public about
ACLEI, or the conduct of an ACLEI employee. The Commonwealth Ombudsman may also
inspect ACLEI's records of its use of certain covert powers, and is required to
report to the relevant minister or to Parliament 'on the comprehensiveness and
adequacy of ACLEI's records relating to the use of these powers'.
Australian National Audit Office
The Auditor-General is an independent
statutory officer of the Parliament, established by the Auditor-General Act
1997 (AG Act). The Auditor-General's functions include:
'auditing the financial statements of Commonwealth entities,
Commonwealth companies and their subsidiaries;
auditing annual performance statements of Commonwealth entities
in accordance with the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act
2013 (PGPA Act);
conducting performance audits, assurance reviews, or audits of
the performance measures of Commonwealth entities, Commonwealth companies and
conducting performance audits of Commonwealth partners as
described in section 18B of the [AG Act];
providing other audit services as required by other legislation
or allowed under section 20 of the [AG Act]; and
reporting directly to the Parliament on any matter or to a
minister on any important matter'.
Professor Gabrielle Appleby and Dr Grant Hoole regard the ANAO's
performance audit powers as having the:
...most robust and flexible capacity to serve as an
integrity-promoting institution. The Auditor-General has the broadest
jurisdiction of the federal institutions considered thus far, combined with the
strongest institutionalised protections for independence and the greatest
transparency attaching to its final reports. Its focus on systemic problems,
and capacity to examine issues on a cross-sectoral and inter-institutional
basis, lends an indispensable element to the Commonwealth integrity framework.
The ANAO is overseen by the Joint Committee of Public Accounts
and Audit (JCPAA). The JCPAA examines the Auditor-General's reports, considers
the ANAO's operations and resources, and reports to Parliament on matters
relating to the ANAO's functions and powers.
According to the ANAO's corporate plan for 2016–20, its purpose
...drive accountability and transparency in the Australian
Government sector through quality evidence based audit services and independent
reporting to Parliament, the Executive and the public, with the result of
improving public sector performance.
The ANAO, under the AG Act, has the authority to:
fully and freely access documents or other property;
to examine, make copies or take extracts from documents;
direct a person, by written notice, to provide information,
attend and give evidence and produce documents in their custody or under their
order information and answers to be verified or provided under
oath or affirmation.
Details of the ANAO's financial statement audits, performance
audits and other assurance activities were provided in its submission.
Financial statement audits
Commonwealth entities are held accountable through the ANAO's
annual financial statements audits. Through this auditing process, the ANAO
will also consider an entity's governance structures and supporting processes
such as audit committees, internal audits and fraud control planning. Approximately
250 financial statement audits are conducted by the ANAO annually, informing
future programs and potential performance audits.
In June of each year, the ANAO releases a report entitled Interim
Phase of the Audits of Financial Statements of Major General Government Sector
Entities. This report summarises the interim phase of the audits of
portfolio departments and other entities, accounting for a least 95 per cent of
revenues and expenses of the general government sector.
In December of each year, the second report entitled Audits of
the Financial Statements of Australian Government Entities is published, detailing
the results of the ANAO's financial statements audits completed across the
Australian government sector. This report includes descriptions and the
implications of any moderate and high risk audit findings.
The Auditor-General referenced the ANAO's most recent controls report, which
found 25 of the 'major entities that make up the majority of public sector
expenditure' had 'risk plans in place, they were up to date, they were being
implemented and none of the agencies were identified as having a high risk of
fraudulent activity impacting upon their financial statements'.
The ANAO's performance audits are a:
...review or examination of the operations of an Australian
Government sector entity to provide the Parliament with assurance relating to
the administration of entities and programs, including where they involve a
These performance audits identify issues and promote improved
administrative and management practices, by focusing on the entity's:
economy, such as minimising costs;
effectiveness in achieving intended outcomes;
compliance with legislation and policy; and
Approximately 50 performance audits are conducted each year,
across all portfolios of government. These audits include entity-specific
audits, broader cross-entity audits, and whole-of-government audits.
The AG Act specifically excludes persons employed or engaged
under the Members of Parliament (Staff) Act 1984
being considered as a Commonwealth entity.
Other assurance activities
In addition to the above, the ANAO may audit or review a
Commonwealth entity if requested by stakeholders, such as parliamentarians,
parliamentary committees, community groups and members of the public. The
Auditor-General may conduct inquiries into a specific matter, with findings
presented in correspondence or a report for tabling in the Parliament.
The committee was informed that a substantive assurance activity
undertaken by the ANAO each year is an assurance review of major Defence
equipment acquisition projects. The first review of Defence equipment
acquisition projects for 2007–08 was published in 2008. The purpose of the
review is to improve 'transparency and public accountability in major Defence
The development of an annual review was driven by the JCPAA's ongoing interest
in major Defence acquisitions since March 2006 and its inquiry into financial
reporting and equipment acquisition at the Department of Defence and the
Defence Material Organisation.
Corruption and misconduct
The ANAO informed the committee that its audits and assurance
work will sometimes reveal possible misconduct and/or corruption. In these
instances, the ANAO 'will generally bring this evidence to the attention of the
responsible investigating authority within the affected entity' and this had
been done on matters relating to Defence credit cards and the disposal of
specialist military equipment.
Internal investigations may occur based on the outcome of an ANAO
audit. This occurred after the ANAO reported on the procurement of garrison
support and welfare services for offshore processing centres in Nauru and Papua
Finally, the ANAO may also conduct a performance audit specifically focused on
agencies' integrity measures. For example, the ANAO is considering a
performance audit of the implementation and effectiveness of the DIBP's staff
integrity measures to mitigate the risk of fraud and corruption amongst
The Auditor-General, Mr Grant Hehir, informed the committee that
in each audit, the ANAO will 'undertake a process of reviewing the frameworks
and activities and actions of agencies with respect to managing fraud risk'.
As part of its investigation, the ANAO will look at:
...how effectively the agency implements its fraud prevention
framework and...are also looking at what they do when they identify fraud
underneath that. It is not just that they have a framework in place, but that
they are implementing it and, when they identify potential fraud or actual
fraud, that they are taking action to deal with it.
Misconduct and fraud risks are mostly identified through the
ANAO's performance audit work, because it delves deeply into the activity of an
agency. If at any point in the investigation, the ANAO identifies something
that looks like misconduct or fraud, then the investigation is transferred to
an appropriate body, which may be an integrity body in some circumstances.
A potential course of action available to the Auditor-General, under section 36
of the AG Act, is the power to disclose particular information to the AFP 'if
the Auditor-General is of the opinion that the disclosure is in the public
Stakeholders are able to inform the ANAO of any matter relating
to an audit. Although rare, the ANAO does receive information from the public
on public servants' delivery of services. In these instances, the ANAO would
conduct an investigation to determine whether the issues should be passed onto
an integrity body. Further:
If it looks quite serious, we would pass it straight to the
relevant integrity body. It depends on the nature of how the issue is raised
with us. If there is a lot of evidence that they are giving us, we would just
pass it straight to the appropriate body.
The committee questioned the ANAO on whether it has identified
any gaps or vulnerabilities in the current integrity framework. In response,
the Auditor-General explained that he had:
...not seen any area where, when we identify an issue, there is
not clearly a body where you can take it to do further work—whether that is the
[AFP] or a particular integrity body set up. In defence or security areas or in
areas of misconduct it tends to be the accountable authority
we would raise it with. In my time in that role when that has happened—and
there have only been a handful of times—I have found that we do not have any
evidence that issues are not appropriately addressed. What I mean by 'do not
have any evidence', when we deal with accountable authorities they tend to tell
us that they did something and what they did to address the concern that we
raised. From that point of view, I have not seen a gap.
When asked whether integrity agencies, such as the ANAO, make a
difference to the Commonwealth's integrity framework, the Auditor-General
responded that there is:
...a fair amount of evidence that the integrity of financial
reporting, which is one of our core roles, is substantially enhanced by the
oversight provisions that we undertake. The fact that we are there and people
know we are there checking and making sure that systems and processes are
robust and reporting is accurate, I would argue, does improve the quality of
it. On the performance auditing side, the fact that people know that we are
going to come in and check on the performance efficiency, effectiveness,
economy and ethical activities within agencies is an important component in the
framework of providing assurance to parliament of how well government works in
A limitation of the ANAO identified by Professor Appleby and Dr
Hoole is that it:
...is not an intuitive institutional starting-point for
investigating corruption and integrity concerns...Its role doesn't include the
investigation of complaints, and neither public servants nor individual
citizens have standing to raise concerns with the Auditor-General. Moreover,
the Auditor-General's contact with integrity and corruption issues is largely
incidental to a broader mandate relating to the scrutiny of public sector
performance and financial management.
Further, Professor Appleby and Dr Hoole argue that the ANAO
...the institutional flexibility to address integrity and
corruption issues in as nuanced or multifaceted way as the ACLEI or the
Commonwealth Ombudsman. The Auditor-General may detect and report
maladministration, but does not have a clear institutional mandate to
forensically study its cause or to correct misconduct.
Finally, a further criticism of the ANAO's role in the integrity
framework is that its identification of corruption is limited to the management
of public funds and instances outside of that space may escape the
Collaboration and co-operation
The ANAO noted that it had observed a 'quite active community of
practice led in part by the [AGD], which of course has the policy-owner role'.
Further to this observation, it has been the ANAO's experience that those
agencies actively involved in the 'community of practice...tended to have a more
mature internal set of fraud control arrangements'.
In the ANAO's view, a key learning from this observation:
...is to keep abreast of the requirements and the more recent
thinking in the community of practice. Compare notes, stay active and keep
working the problem continuously. They seem to be the key preconditions for at
least having a reasonable prospect of success on the prevention side, because
prevention is the thing that is being emphasised more these days around fraud
Australian Public Service
The APSC is responsible for 'upholding the standards of integrity
and conduct in the [APS]'.
The PS Act is a key component to the APS' integrity framework.
The PS Act establishes the behaviour obligations of all APS employees and the
APSC is responsible for:
upholding and promoting the APS Values, Employment Principles and
the APS Code of Conduct (integrity principles);
evaluating each agency's compliance with and incorporation of the
APS's integrity principles;
issuing directions to agency heads regarding investigation
procedures for determining suspected breaches of the Code of Conduct and
relevant sanctions; and
investigating alleged breaches of the Code of Conduct by an
Australian Public Service Code of
The APS Code of Conduct is established under section 13 of the PS
Act. Integrity measures found in the code include requirements for APS
employees to behave honestly and with integrity, comply with applicable
Australian laws, maintain confidentiality about dealings with a minister or ministerial
staff, avoid any conflict of interest, and not use insider information to:
...gain, or seek to gain, a benefit or an advantage for the
employee or any other person, or...cause or seek to cause, detriment to the
employee's agency, the Commonwealth or any other person.
According to the APSC, the reporting and investigating of alleged
breaches of the Code of Conduct are important elements of the APS integrity
framework. It is the responsibility of all APS employees to report suspected
misconduct. Agency heads are obliged to:
...investigate alleged misconduct or breaches of the Code of
Conduct, and can impose sanctions up to and including termination of
employment. In the case of serious misconduct, including genuinely corrupt
acts, matters are referred to the relevant law enforcement body.
The APSC also provides APS employees with an ethics advisory
service. This service is offered to APS employees who 'wish to discuss and seek
advice on ethical issues that occur in the workplace and make sound decisions
around these issues'. This service includes advice on:
the application and interpretation of the APS Values and Code of
Conduct (section 10 and 13 of the PS Act);
ethical decision making in the APS; and
interpretation of misconduct provisions under the PS Act, as well
as advice on related policies and good practice.
The APSC is not able to provide advice
the technical and operational aspects of the employment policy of
other aspects of APS legislation, policy or management;
internal agency policies and processes unless a request is
submitted by an agency head, a senior executive employee or an agency corporate
management area; and
the merits or outcome of a misconduct case.
State of the Service report
The APSC's annual State of the Service reports include data on
the number of investigations into misconduct and breaches of the Code of
Conduct, including allegations of corrupt conduct. Between 2014 and 2016, there
were 1866 investigations into misconduct, with 228 resulting in termination of
employment and 888 resulting in employees being reprimanded. In 2015–16, 106 of
the 717 finalised investigations were reported to have involved a form of
with the majority involving 'acts of a less serious nature, such as
inappropriate use of flex time or misuse of leave'.
The State of the Service reports include data from APS employee
surveys. In these surveys, APS employees are asked whether they had witnessed
or reported perceived corruption.
The 2016 survey reports that four per cent
of respondents 'had witnessed another employee engaging in behaviour they
Of these respondents:
67 per cent reported they had witnessed cronyism;
26 per cent reported they had witnessed nepotism;
22 per cent reported they had witnessed an APS employee acting,
or failing to act, in the presence of undisclosed conflicts of interest; and
only 33 per cent of those that had witnessed corrupt behaviour
had reported it.
The APSC is of the view that the available data suggests
corruption in the APS is low and 'APS agencies are dealing with unlawful and
corrupt conduct appropriately when it is identified'.
The Commonwealth Ombudsman has responsibility for and is empowered
to investigate and expose instances of 'systemic maladministration that
undermines probity and integrity in government'.
According to Professor Appleby and Dr Hoole, the Commonwealth Ombudsman:
...helps to ensure that official powers are exercised in a
non-abusive manner conforming to relevant legislation, policies, and standards.
It provides an important point of contact for facilitative, confidential
reporting of corruption concerns within the Commonwealth public service. The
Ombudsman thus lends important values of conciliation, privacy, and
problem-solving to the Commonwealth integrity framework.
Other responsibilities of the Ombudsman include:
the shared administration of the Commonwealth's whistleblower
scheme (PID Scheme), under the PID Act;
reviewing law enforcement agencies' statutory compliance with the
use of certain covert and intrusive powers;
the consideration and investigation of complaints from
individuals who claim they have been treated unfairly, or unreasonably, by a
Commonwealth department or agency or prescribed private sector organisation;
acting as the ombudsman for private health insurance, overseas
students, the Defence Force, law enforcement, the Australian Capital Territory
and Norfolk Island;
oversight of immigration detention through an assessment of the
appropriateness of a person being held in detention for more than two years.
Powers available under the Commonwealth Ombudsman Act 1976
(Ombudsman Act) include:
notices requiring people to give information and produce
documents or records (privilege against self-incrimination is abrogated and a
use of immunity applies);
requiring persons to attend examinations (again, privilege
against self‑incrimination is abrogated and a use of immunity applies); and
enter the premises occupied by a department or prescribed
authority (including contractors) and carrying on an investigation there.
The Commonwealth Ombudsman also meets with, and works
collaboratively with other integrity agencies, thereby referring matters to
other agencies if it is unable to investigate.
These referral powers include referring matters of corruption
The jurisdiction of the Commonwealth Ombudsman
includes the administrative actions
of most Commonwealth departments, or agencies and prescribed private sector
organisations. Its jurisdiction can include the actions of a Commonwealth
service provider, such as 'a contractor or subcontractor who provides goods or
services for, or on behalf of, an agency to the public'.
The Commonwealth Ombudsman does not have the jurisdiction to
tax complaints (transferred to the Inspector-General of Taxation), Australian
the Commonwealth Grants Commission, the Defence Force Remuneration Tribunal,
and the Remuneration Tribunal. Further, the Commonwealth Ombudsman does not have
the jurisdiction to review the administrative actions of the courts or tribunal
registries, and the actions and decisions of members of parliament and ministers
are outside the Commonwealth Ombudsman's jurisdiction. However, investigations
may take place into advice provided to a minister by a Commonwealth agency.
The committee was informed that in 2015–16 the Commonwealth
Ombudsman received 37 790 complaints. Of these complaints:
5339 were determined to be out of its jurisdiction;
32 451 were in-jurisdiction complaints;
3131 (or 9.6 per cent) were investigated.
Of these investigated:
2540 matters were resolved after a single contact with the
582 were resolved after two or more substantive contacts with the
relevant agency; and
nine complaints were investigated using the formal use of powers
under the Ombudsman Act.
The committee was told that the Commonwealth Ombudsman receives
information through a number of different channels, which may lead to an
investigation into systemic maladministration. These channels include:
receiving a large number of complaints about one issue;
receiving a small number of specific complaints (such as its
investigation into health cover of international students); and
the Commonwealth Ombudsman's interaction with external bodies,
such as community based agencies.
If a particular agency or matter of interest receives a large
volume of complaints, the Commonwealth Ombudsman will establish a strategy
These strategy branches assess the complaints received to determine if there is
a systemic issue. Further, the branches have regular engagement with the
agencies for which they are responsible, as well as stakeholder engagement to
assist those people subject to the administration of those agencies.
As already noted, the Commonwealth Ombudsman has shared
responsibility for the administration of the PID Scheme under the PID Act.
The PID Scheme will be discussed in more detail later in this chapter.
Professor Appleby and Dr Hoole identified a number of characteristics
of the Commonwealth Ombudsman that they argue are both a source of strength and
weakness. The first is the privacy surrounding the work of the Commonwealth
...facilitates candour and provides a secure environment in
which a problem may be resolved constructively between a complainant and the
relevant Commonwealth agency.
However, as with ACLEI, this level of privacy can limit the
...awareness of the extent to which the Ombudsman succeeds in
fostering integrity within the public service, given that public reporting may
result in conflict between the Ombudsman and a department. An emphasis on
privacy and 'soft power' may diminish the Ombudsman's capacity to deter the
worst instances of corruption. Finally, some features of the Ombudsman's
procedural flexibility diminish at least the appearance of independence. This
is the case in respect of the Ombudsman's duty to consult a Minister before
including findings that are critical of government in a public report.
Inspector-General of Intelligence
The IGIS is an independent statutory officer who is responsible
for reviewing the activities of Australia's intelligence agencies. The agencies
under the IGIS's jurisdiction are:
the Australian Secret Intelligence Service;
Australian Geospatial-Intelligence Organisation;
Defence Intelligence Organisation; and the
The purpose of IGIS is to 'provide assurance that each
intelligence agency acts legally and with propriety, complies with ministerial
guidelines and directives, and acts consistently with human rights'.
It achieves this by conducting inspections of operational activities of
Australia's intelligence agencies. IGIS is also empowered to conduct a private
inquiry and order a person to produce documents and provide information to
assist with its investigation.
IGIS informed the committee that inquiries have been conducted into:
allegations of inappropriate security vetting practices (2011);
possible compromise of a compliance test (2010); and
an allegation that the ASD had spied on the Defence Minister
The activities of Australia's intelligence agencies cannot be
disclosed publicly, and for this reason, IGIS is equipped to have oversight of and
manage highly classified information. IGIS staff are required to obtain top
secret positive vetting clearances.
Information obtained through its investigations is dealt with in accordance
with IGIS's security requirements and the secrecy provisions found in the Inspector-General
of Intelligence and Security Act 1986 (IGIS Act). Procedures are also in
place to protect the identity of former staff or agents of intelligence
IGIS informed the committee that Australia's intelligence
agencies have internal mechanisms in place to detect and deter misconduct and
corruption. In addition to these internal mechanisms, the security clearance
and vetting processes covering intelligence agency staff provide an 'additional
layer of scrutiny'.
Any individual misconduct may result in a loss of a security clearance, and
subsequently an officer's job.
It is the role of IGIS to 'oversee the mechanisms in place in the agencies and [IGIS]
is an avenue for staff to complain if they consider there has been
maladministration or corruption'.
IGIS expressed the view that corruption and misconduct in
Australia's intelligence agencies is very low, and that existing mechanisms in
place are sufficient to detect and deter those behaviours. IGIS identified the
security vetting processes as a possible reason for the low level of corruption
IGIS also shares responsibility under the PID Act for matters
that relate to intelligence agencies. Since the introduction of the PID Act,
IGIS has received a 'small number of disclosures concerning alleged misconduct
in procurement and has received a number of disclosures alleging
maladministration in staffing matters'.
Investigations into these allegations have identified areas for improvement,
but have not been considered cases of widespread misconduct or corruption. IGIS
believes it has sufficient powers under the IGIS Act and the PID Act to conduct
an inquiry into these matters.
Australian Electoral Commission
The AEC is responsible for the integrity of Australia's
elections. According to evidence provided by the AEC, there are three major
areas in which a 'perception of misconduct' may arise.
These areas are:
political party donations and disclosures;
the integrity of the electoral role; and
the handling of electoral offences.
Political party donations and
In 1983, the Commonwealth funding and disclosure scheme
(disclosure scheme) was established under the Commonwealth Electoral Act
1918 (Electoral Act) to 'increase the overall transparency and inform the
public about the financial dealings of political parties, candidates and others
involved in the electoral process'.
According to the AEC, the:
...broad aim of the scheme to provide political parties and
candidates with public funding to reduce reliance on private funding and
requiring the disclosure of campaign related transactions in the interests of
transparency and thereby reducing the risk of corruption.
Under the disclosure scheme:
...candidates, registered political parties and their state
branches, local branches and sub party units and their associated entities,
donors, and other participants in the electoral process, are required to lodge
annual or electoral period financial returns with the AEC.
These financial returns must show:
the total value of receipts received;
details of the amounts received that are above the disclosure
threshold (from 1 July 2017 to 30 June 2018, the disclosure threshold is
the total value of payment received;
the total value of debts as at 30 June; and
details of debts outstanding as at 30 June that are more than the
Other details to be included if a total is above the disclosable
amount include the name of the person or organisation making the donation, the
sum of the amount received, and whether the receipt is a 'donation' or 'other
Once submitted to the AEC, the disclosure returns are made
available for the public's inspection. 
Breaches of the disclosure scheme are contained in the Electoral
Act. It requires the AEC to refer any breaches to the CDPP, and 'combines
relatively low penalties—$100 for some minor offences—with potentially high
thresholds for establishing an offence'.
The AEC reassured the committee that it is:
...extremely active in ensuring that all the strictures of the
act are met. To that end, we work collaboratively with the various participants
in the process, we conduct an active annual regime of compliance reviews and we
refer specific cases of non-compliance to relevant Commonwealth agencies for
further action where necessary.
Integrity of the electoral roll
In 2014, the AEC established an electoral integrity unit (EIU) to
'inquire into and strengthen the integrity of the AEC's electoral processes'.
The EIU's remit is to 'examine enrolment in election matters to identify and
report on issues affecting the integrity of the processes', including the
'examination of electoral fraud and reports its findings to the AEC's fraud
control manager in accordance with the AEC's fraud control plan'.
If the EIU identifies an issue, it will provide a recommendation on whether the
matter warrants being referred to the AFP for further investigation.
The creation of the EIU led to the development of the Electoral
Integrity Framework. This framework supports the EIU's work by identifying
opportunities to enhance its integrity measures by ensuring the electoral
system adheres to the:
...provisions contained in the [Electoral Act], following AEC
policies and procedures, and administering an electoral system where eligible
electors cast votes which are counted accurately and promptly.
The framework is focused on AEC processes and procedures and
does not comment on the underlying integrity of the legislated systems of
enrolment and elections in Australia's electoral system. The framework
currently applies to enrolment and elections, and may, in time, apply to other
areas of the AEC's work, such as funding and disclosure or industrial and
Handling of electoral offences
Part 21 of the Electoral Act lists a number of specific electoral
offences, including bribery, polling place offences and a range of other
campaign-related offences. The AEC is required to uphold the compulsory voting
system, and the principle of 'one person, one vote'.
The AEC reiterated its commitment to address instances of alleged
multiple voting, stating section 339 of the Electoral Act 'provides that a
person is guilty of an offence if that person votes more than once in the same
election but does not have:
...the authority to prosecute multiple voting offences, but we
cooperate with the AFP and the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions on
cases of possible multiple voting. Following the most recent election in 2016,
the AEC and the AFP worked closely to institute a process for managing the
referral, by the AEC to the AFP, of apparent multiple voting cases.
Administrative and enforcement
In her evidence, Professor Anne Twomey suggested that a problem
for electoral commissions is whether they are administrative agencies, or
enforcement agencies. Professor Twomey argued that there is a difficulty with a
single agency having both roles, and electoral commissions are not adequately
funded to conduct investigations.
In response, the AEC acknowledged this is an issue other
electoral commissions have previously tried to resolve.
In the case of the AEC, the committee was assured that it has a number of
internal checks and balances that it uses to consider various issues, and
There will be a point when—as we always do with matters that
are either under review or investigation and we think sufficient evidence
points to the need for further action, and that action is not within our power
under the Electoral Act—we refer that for further action to either the AFP or
the DPP, depending on the issue.
It is at this point in the investigation that the AEC will
transfer responsibility and it is up to the AFP or CDPP whether to take the
investigation forward. This transferral of responsibility is because:
...the AFP and the CDPP are both bound by the prosecution
policy of the Commonwealth. They make their own decisions about whether they
can pursue a particular issue, but we are not bound by that. We simply
administer the act and the provisions of the act. Where we believe there is an
issue, we will refer that on regardless of the prosecution policy of the
The AEC used as an example an enrolment issue in the seat of Indi
during the 2013 election. The AEC's preliminary investigation indicated that an
offence may have occurred, and it was subsequently referred to the AFP.
The separation of powers, in the AEC view, is important because
it puts it, 'to a certain extent, at arm's length so that we are seen as not
being politically partisan and we are continuing our role as being neutral in
the political sphere'.
The AEC is, however, able to prosecute for non-voting offences,
and it possesses coercive powers, under section 316 of the Electoral Act, such
as the power to ask questions and seek documentation to determine 'whether a
person has complied with the disclosure obligation[s]'.
The AFP, on notice, informed the committee that it provides an investigative
service to the AEC 'in accordance with a memorandum of understanding on
investigation of Commonwealth offences'.
However, the AFP noted it:
...does not have a view on whether criminal legislation is
required that specifies with certainty how political parties can and cannot
spend public funding received as part of an election...Where a political party
has received public funding as a result of an election and where the party
spends the public funding in contravention of its party constitution and where
it may constitute a criminal offence, the political party or other may refer to
the AFP the matter for investigation. The AFP may evaluate the referral and
determine if there has bene any breach of Commonwealth offences.
The AFP concluded that it does not require any 'additional powers
when investigating matters of this nature'.
Comparison with other jurisdictions
The committee asked the AEC how Australia's electoral system
compares with other jurisdictions. In response, the AEC informed the committee
of its regular engagement with the United Kingdom, Canada and New Zealand, and
the shared view that:
...it is remarkable just how much respect the various political
players in the process have for the process itself. It is very rare that there
are parties, candidates or MPs who actually try to do the wrong thing. In our
democracy there is a great respect for the process and for citizens as well.
The AEC referred to the ongoing project called the Electoral
Integrity Project, which produces a global survey each year that rates
democracies. In May 2017, up to 3000 electoral integrity experts evaluated
Australia's 2016 federal election and concluded that it had 'very high
integrity'. That said, the AEC notes that there are always issues, including:
...a general decline in those democracies for people's trust in
democracy over many years. The AEC's rating has still gone down with everybody
else's, but has remained relatively buoyant. More Australians than not believe
in and trust in the outcome of elections. Without going too far down that path,
there are, however, a minority of Australians that believe that fraud does
occur during Australian elections.
On the matter of donation laws, the committee compared the
Commonwealth's disclosure threshold to the recent changes to New South Wales
and Queensland's donations threshold laws that now require the disclosure of
donations above $1000. When this measure was introduced in Queensland, the
Premier said the changes would reduce the prospect of corruption.
In response, the AEC said it did not have a view on this matter; its role is to
administer the Electoral Act.
Australian Securities and
ASIC 'is Australia’s corporate, markets and financial services
regulator', established pursuant to the Australian Securities and
Investments Commission Act 2001.
It is overseen by the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Corporations and
breaches of the [Corporations Act] and takes criminal, civil and administrative
action in cases of corporate misconduct. Within ASIC, the Office of the
Whistleblower monitors the handling of whistleblower reports.
In order to perform its functions, ASIC has investigation and
powers. ASIC explained how these powers intersect with issues of corruption in
its 2014 submission to PJCACLEI in respect of its inquiry into the jurisdiction
of the ACLEI:
The corruption risks
present within ASIC arise from our role as a regulator. Potential corruptors
may stand to make a financial profit, or otherwise enhance their commercial
interests, by obtaining access to the information and intelligence that ASIC
collects as a result of ASIC's regulatory functions. Alternatively, potential
corruptors may seek to benefit from favourable treatment such as the imposition
of lower penalties, improper determinations of relief applications, or other
The submission noted that, as a result of these potential motives
for corruption, there exists:
...a risk that ASIC
staff may seek to gain a profit or benefit for themselves or others..., may use
ASIC powers and discretions for an improper purpose, and may protect unlawful
activity by diverting attention or otherwise manipulating surveillance and investigations.
In examining ASIC's evidence, PJCACLEI noted in its May 2016
...the former acting
Integrity Commissioner, Mr Robert Cornall, observed that ASIC's written
submission and ASIC officers' oral evidence 'supported the position that [ASIC
is] not in a high-risk environment'.
In contrast to this evidence to the PJCACLEI, the committee
received evidence that ASIC's budget is not sufficient to carry out its
functions in respect of corruption, as:
ASIC, which should have a major role in supervision of this
area, had its budget cut by $120 million over four years, by this government’s
first budget. ASIC itself submitted to a Senate inquiry into ASIC’s handling of
financial scandals that it lacked the weapons to deal with bank misbehaviour,
and that penalties for misbehaviour are inadequate.
This comment about the lack of resources was echoed by Mr Trevor
Clarke of the Australian Council for Trade Unions, who asserted that the
current environment ASIC works in 'is not the ideal environment to take a step
back and conceive of yourself as an agency that is about preventing corrupt
behaviour in all of its forms', as ASIC is:
...a compliance body that would receive goodness knows how many
hundreds of thousands of forms every day of the week, and are expected to make
some conclusions or direct investigative activities about compliance based on
this enormous volume of information that they get every day of the week.
However, in respect of ASIC's resourcing constraints, the AGD
informed the committee that:
In July 2015, the
Government announced $127.6 million funding over four years for a Serious
Financial Crime Taskforce, which sits within the FAC Centre. In April 2016, the
Government announced that it would invest an additional $14.7 million to expand
the investigative capability of the FAC Centre and bolster Australia’s
capability to respond to foreign bribery, alongside an additional $127.2
million over four years to strengthen the investigative capacity of ASIC.
Further, AGD noted that a taskforce has been established to
review ASIC's enforcement regime, which will 'undertake
extensive consultation before submitting a final report to Government in
The ASIC enforcement review will assess the suitability of
the existing regulatory tools available to ASIC and whether there is a need to
strengthen ASIC’s toolkit. Relevantly, the Review’s terms of reference include
an examination of legislation dealing with corporations, financial services,
credit, and insurance as to:
the adequacy of civil and criminal
penalties relating to the financial system, including corporate fraud
the need for alternative
the adequacy of existing penalties
for serious contraventions
the adequacy of ASIC’s information
gathering powers, and
any other matters which arise
during the course of the Taskforce’s review, which appear necessary to address
any deficiencies in ASIC’s regulatory toolset.
Australian Transaction Reports and
As set out in the AGD's 2016 submission, AUSTRAC—'Australia’s
anti‑money laundering and counter‑terrorism financing (AML/CTF)
regulator and specialist Financial Intelligence Unit [(FIU)]'—has the
analysing and disseminating financial intelligence to its designated law enforcement,
national security, revenue collection and social welfare partner agencies. As
part of this role, AUSTRAC allows domestic partner agencies (for example the
[Australian Taxation Office], ASIC, the ACC and the AFP) on‑line access
to the AUSTRAC database of financial transaction reports information.
AUSTRAC also has an
extensive international network of ties with more than 80 foreign FIUs, which
enables AUSTRAC to facilitate the exchange of financial and other intelligence
between Australian agencies and overseas counterparts. AUSTRAC also provides
on-site training and analytical assistance to those domestic agencies to assist
their efforts in combating crime and corruption, revenue evasion, the funding
of terrorism and major fraud.
Under the AML/CTF
regulatory framework AUSTRAC supervises compliance and transaction reporting
obligations of more than 14,000 entities in the banking and finance, gambling,
remittance and bullion sectors. The AML/CTF framework provides these regulated
entities with the toolkit to identify and combat corruption. The framework
obliges regulated entities to identify and verify customers, assess beneficial
ownership and control and the source of the customer’s funds and identify
whether the customer is a politically exposed person. Where a regulated entity
identifies any suspicious activity relating to a customer’s behaviour or
transaction activity, it must be reported to AUSTRAC.
The AGD subsequently provided the committee with an update on
In March 2017,
AUSTRAC established the Fintel Alliance, a centre of excellence for financial
intelligence. The Fintel Alliance brings together government, industry, and
international partners to take a collaborative approach to combating money
laundering, terrorism financing, and other financial crimes. It will optimise
the use of over 100 million reports from industry each year to produce powerful
financial intelligence to target Australia’s high money laundering and
terrorism financing risks.
Other agencies/contributors to the
According to the AGD's submissions, other agencies with
responsibilities under the multi-agency integrity framework include the:
ACIC, and its powers to conduct operations against serious
and organised crime. It possesses coercive powers to conduct 'special
operations and investigations to obtain information where traditional law
enforcement methods are unlikely to be successful'.
DIBP and its responsibility to screen non-citizens' risk
profile and determine whether a person has 'either alleged or have engaged in
corrupt conduct, or have actually been charged with or convicted of corruption
offences' and in these instances, the 'non-citizen will have their visa
application assessed for refusal on character grounds or, if they are already a
visa holder, they will be assessed for possible visa cancellation'.
Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet (DPMC) through
its work on the OGP and its responsibility to apply the Ministerial Code of
Conduct and the Lobbying Code of Conduct (these are discussed in greater detail
later in this chapter).
CDPP that prosecutes crimes against Commonwealth law on
matters relating to corruption, fraud, money laundering and commercial
Finally, another important component to Australia's integrity
system is the judicial system. The AGD submitted:
independent and impartial judicial system protects against corruption. Judicial
officers act independently of the parliament and the executive. Constitutional
guarantees of tenure and remuneration assist in securing judicial independence
Other agencies noted for having a role in 'safeguarding the
integrity of government administration' include the:
Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA);
Department of Human Services;
Department of Defence;
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT);
Fair Work Ombudsman;
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC);
Department of Finance;
ONA; and the
Parliamentary Services Commissioner.
The AGD advised that each agency is required to implement its own
'internal policies to prevent, detect, investigate and respond to corruption
and misconduct as required under the Commonwealth fraud control policy, APS
Values, APS Code of Conduct and the PS Act'.
Further consideration of the multi-agency framework is found in
chapter 4. The committee's analysis includes considerations of gaps and
vulnerabilities in the multi-agency framework, along with arguments for and
against establishing a national integrity commission.
Interaction between federal and
state integrity agencies
The committee received evidence about the interaction between the
existing Commonwealth integrity agencies and their state counterparts.
For example, in its submission to the committee ACLEI noted that
it 'has much to gain by working closely with state agency counterparts and with
state police forces', and provided the following example:
...ACLEI’s strategy of sensitising state agencies to the
likelihood that their criminal intelligence records and investigations will
hold incidental insights about the possible compromise of high-risk
Commonwealth law enforcement activities is bringing actionable information to
light. The longer-term benefit is that pathways will be established that will
uncover new information about corruption and play a role in strengthening
Australia’s integrity arrangements more generally.
It was also stated that:
ACLEI conducts its formal relationships with state integrity
counterparts under the framework of the Australian Anti-corruption Commissions
Forum (AACF)—a regular summit meeting of anti-corruption agencies throughout
Australia. ACLEI representatives also participate in the AACF sub‑groups—including:
the Executive Co-ordination Group (comprising senior executives), the Legal
Forum (comprising legal officers) and the Corruption Prevention Practitioners
Forum (consisting of corruption prevention experts).
In his evidence to the committee, the Integrity Commissioner noted
that 'we are constantly in engagement with the state agencies on all issues
relating to the integrity and anticorruption space that I work in and that they
In response to a question on notice from the committee, the
Queensland Crime and Corruption Commission (Qld CCC) informed the committee
about the particulars of an Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Qld CCC;
the South Australian Independent Commission Against Corruption (SA ICAC); the
Western Australian Corruption and Crime Commission; the New South Wales Independent
Commission Against Corruption (NSW ICAC); the Tasmanian Integrity Commission;
the Victorian Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission (IBAC); and
The Qld CCC stated:
The MOU was not a general commitment to cooperating with one
another. Rather the agency heads agreed to provide staff to a requesting agency
to investigate allegations of misconduct by staff members in the requesting
I can say that there are good levels of cooperation between
agencies. A very good example is the Australian Public Sector Anti-corruption
Conference which is jointly hosted by a number of agencies every two years.
Other integrity measures
In addition to the integrity agencies discussed above, there
exist a number of legislative instruments and other mechanisms that contribute
to the Commonwealth integrity framework.
For example, in its 2016 submission, the APSC noted that the PID
Act, the PGPA Act and the Commonwealth Fraud Control Framework 2014 (the
framework) underpin the APS integrity framework.
In its 2016 submission, the AGD identified the following Acts
that comprise the government's anti-corruption framework:
the Criminal Code;
the Crimes (Superannuation Benefits) Act 1992;
the Corporations Act;
the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act
2006 (AML Act);
the LEIC Act;
the PGPA Act;
the PID Act; and
the PS Act.
The AGD also noted that the Fraud Rule—section 10 of the Public
Governance, Performance and Accountability Rule 2014—'sets out the key
principles of fraud control under the PGPA Act framework and binds all
In its 2016 submission, the Law Council of Australia identified
that the following acts 'may also be used in pursuing corrupt conduct':
the AML Act;
the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002;
the PGPA Act;
the Corporations Act;
the LEIC Act;
the Australian Border Force Act 2015; and the
The following sections examine some of these Acts and mechanisms,
as well as others that have come to the committee's attention, in greater
Public Interest Disclosure Scheme
The PID Scheme was established in 2013 and commenced operation on
15 January 2014
as a means to promote integrity and accountability in the Commonwealth public
sector. The PID Scheme, according to the then Attorney‑General, the Hon. Mark
Dreyfus MP, was intended to:
...establish clear procedures for allegations of wrongdoing to
be reported by public officials and for findings of wrongdoing to be rectified.
The emphasis on the scheme is on the disclosure of wrongdoing being reported to
and investigated within government. To this end, the bill places obligations on
principal officers of agencies to ensure that public interest disclosures are
properly investigated and that appropriate action is taken to deal with
recommendations relating to their agency. In short, these are obligations to
act on disclosures of wrongdoing and to fix wrongdoing where it is found. A
well-implemented and comprehensive scheme should lead to a discloser having
confidence in the system, and remove incentive for the discloser to make public
information to parties outside government.
Under the PID Act, public officials are protected from reprisal
action for 'disclosing suspected illegal conduct, corruption,
maladministration, abuses of public trust, deception relating to scientific
research, wastage of public money, unreasonable danger to health or safety,
danger to the environment or abuse of position or conduct which may be grounds
for disciplinary action'.
The Commonwealth Ombudsman and the IGIS
are the statutory authorities responsible for the promotion of the
PID Act, as well as the monitoring and reporting of its operation. The
Commonwealth Ombudsman informed the committee that a PID can be either made to
an agency itself, or the Commonwealth Ombudsman. If made to the Commonwealth
...by and large, [the disclosure] is referred back to the
agency. In unique circumstances it is investigated by our office. In relation
to corruption, agencies have internal fraud, corruption and compliance
mechanisms which they would use for their investigations, and we also have the
capacity to refer matters to the policing authorities.
The committee asked the Commonwealth Ombudsman whether
individuals making a PID express reluctance to raise their complaint with the
agency concerned. The Commonwealth Ombudsman responded that the PID Act is
still in its first iteration, and for that reason the office is:
...going through an educative phase where we are promoting
awareness and a pro-disclosure culture across the Commonwealth. A large portion
of the Ombudsman's role is actually in educating public servants, current and
former, and contracted service providers about the PID scheme. We do get a lot
of informal correspondence and telephone calls from public servants who are
interested in knowing a bit more about the scheme and potentially where to go.
We do often recommend that they go internally to an agency first, but obviously
they are able to make a complaint or a disclosure directly to our office.
More specifically, the Commonwealth Ombudsman provides support by
detailing the rules and the levels of protection available to a person once a
disclosure is made.
It is not unforeseeable that individuals would rather not
approach the agency at first instance, disclose who they are and then make a
decision about whether they are going to proceed or not. We would almost be
used as an informational triage point to give some assurance that the
mechanisms are in place, that the agency is there to deal with the matter
appropriately, and that our office is there to deal with matters if they are
not being dealt with appropriately by the agency.
A part of the Commonwealth Ombudsman's educational
responsibilities under the PID Scheme is to seek assurance that agencies
conduct a risk assessment for those people who have made a disclosure, and
ensure they are looked after internally. If an individual does not think they
have been treated appropriately, then he or she may submit a PID complaint.
In these instances:
If a discloser is dissatisfied with the outcome of an
investigation, it is open to them to complain to our office. We are able to
investigate and provide advice to that agency on administrative best practice.
It is quite a positive process that the Ombudsman is involved in where we can
give agencies guidance on how to better conduct processes in future. There are
also legal avenues under the act for a discloser to access.
On 15 July 2016, the government released a statutory review of
the effectiveness and operation of the PID Act. The report found the experience
of whistleblowers under the PID Act was 'not a happy one' and that '[f]ew
individuals who made PIDs reported that they felt supported':
Some felt that their disclosure had not been adequately
investigated or that their agency had not adequately addressed the conduct
reported. Many disclosers reported experiencing reprisal as a result of
bringing forward their concerns.
The report found the experience of the agencies showed
difficulties applying the PID Act, noting the bulk of the disclosures received
'related to personal employment-related grievances and were better addressed
through other processes' and 'the PID Act’s procedures and mandatory obligations
upon individuals are ill‑adapted to addressing such disclosures'.
The AGD stated that the 33 recommendations found in the
report will be considered alongside any findings made by the Parliamentary
Joint Committee on Corporations and Financial Services (PJCCFS) in respect of
its inquiry into whistleblower protections in the corporate, public and not‑for‑profit
In the 2016–17 federal budget, the government announced the
introduction of new arrangements to better protect tax whistleblowers to
further tackle tax misconduct. A consultation paper was also released by the
Treasury on 20 December 2016, seeking public comment on a review of
Australia's tax and corporate whistleblower protections. In particular, the
paper 'sought comment on whether corporate sector protections and similar provisions
under financial system legislation should be harmonised with whistleblower
protections in the public sector'.
The evidence available in the paper was also intended to inform the inquiry by
the PJCCFS into whistleblower protections.
Submissions to the consultation paper closed on 10 February 2017.
Inquiry into whistleblower
protections in the corporate, public and not-for-profit sectors
At the time of the committee's inquiry into an NIC, the PJCCFS
was simultaneously conducting an inquiry into whistleblower protections in the
corporate, public and not-for-profit sectors.
The PJCCFS was scheduled to table its report on 17 August 2017,
but on 15 August 2017 was granted an extension of this reporting date to
14 September 2017. For this reason, the committee has decided against
considering in further detail the PID Scheme. However, the committee notes that,
if an NIC is established, consideration will need to be given to the impact of
the NIC on the PID Scheme.
Jurisdiction of the PID Act
Initially, the PID Act's jurisdiction applied to 191 agencies and
The Act also applied to 'small authorities, committees and Commonwealth
companies' with 'a separate legal identity' that sourced most of their
resources from larger agencies.
In the first of the Commonwealth Ombudsman's annual reports that
discussed the new scheme, it was stated that principal officers of an agency
are required to foster an environment that encourages public officials to
disclose suspected wrongdoing, as '[i]t is only through strong agency
commitment that public officials will have the confidence to trust and use the
scheme and make disclosures'.
The most recent annual report of the Commonwealth Ombudsman states
that the PID Act applies to 175 agencies, and is 'increasingly being used by
contracted service providers'.
The following table provides further statistical information
about the use of PIDs from their first introduction to 2015–16.
Table 1: statistical data on the
use of PIDs
||Number of agencies that made a
disclosure: 48 (out of 191 agencies)
||Number of agencies that made a
disclosure: 58 (out of 185 agencies)
Number of PIDs made: 639.
Agencies identified 707 kinds
of disclosable conduct.
Conduct engaged in for the
purpose of corruption: 25 out of 707 (4 per cent)
||Number of agencies that made a
disclosure: 69 (out of 175 agencies).
Number of PIDs made: 612.
Agencies identified 707 kinds
of disclosable conduct.
Conduct engaged in for the
purpose of corruption: 25 out of 707 (4 per cent)
Public Governance, Performance and
Accountability Act 2013
The PGPA Act came into force on 1 July 2014, replacing the Financial
Management and Accountability Act 1997 and the Commonwealth Authorities
and Companies Act 1997.
The objects of the PGPA Act are:
- to establish a coherent system of governance and
accountability across Commonwealth entities; and
- to establish a performance framework across Commonwealth
- to require the Commonwealth and Commonwealth entities:
- to meet high standards of
governance, performance and accountability; and
- to provide meaningful
information to the Parliament and the public; and
- to use and manage public
resources properly; and
- to work cooperatively with
others to achieve common objectives, where practicable; and
- to require Commonwealth companies to meet high standards
of governance, performance and accountability.
The PGPA Act 'establishes a coherent system of governance and
accountability for public resources, with an emphasis on planning, performance
and reporting' and 'applies to all Commonwealth entities and Commonwealth
Commonwealth Fraud Control
The AGD's 2016 submission discussed in detail the Commonwealth Fraud
Control Framework. It was stated that the framework consists of three key
documents, as follows:
the Fraud Rule, which 'sets out the key principles of fraud
control for all entities under the PGPA Act framework' and requires entities to
conduct risk assessments and identify fraud risks;
the Commonwealth Fraud Control Policy, which 'binds
non-corporate Commonwealth entities and sets out key procedural requirements
for fraud training, investigation, response and reporting'; and
the Fraud Guidance, which 'provides better practice advice
on fraud control arrangements'.
The framework's fraud policy identifies the AFP as the primary
law enforcement agency responsible for the investigation of serious or complex
fraud against the Commonwealth. Agencies and entities under the Commonwealth:
...must refer all stances of potential serious or complex fraud
offences to the AFP in accord with the [Attorney-General's Information Service
(AGIS)] and AFP referral process, except in the following circumstances:
that have the capacity and the appropriate skills and resources needed to
investigate potential criminal matters and meet the requirements of the...CDPP in
preparing briefs of evidence and the AGIS for gathering evidence, or
legislation sets our specific alternative arrangements.
Information was also provided about how the framework operates:
Under the Framework, each entity is responsible for its own
fraud control arrangements, including investigating and responding to fraud
incidents that are not handled by law enforcement agencies. Each entity is also
responsible for its own fraud control arrangements, with oversight provided by
the Independent Audit Committees, annual reporting and certification requirements
under the PGPA Act, and independent audits conducted by the ANAO. The Framework
covers a range of incidents considered to be corruption.
The AGD did not refer to the framework in its 2017 submission, or
discuss the framework during its appearance before the committee.
Open Government Partnership
Australia has been a member of the OGP since 2015.
The OGP requires its 70 member countries to engage with civil society
to 'co-create a National Action Plan [NAP] every two years, with independent
reporting on progress'. These plans aim to promote transparency, empower
citizens, fight corruption, and harness new technologies to strengthen
In December 2016, the government released the first NAP under the
OGP. Ms Nicole Rose PSM of AGD, provided the committee with the following
background to the NAP:
In December 2016, the government released Australia's first
national action plan under the Open Government Partnership. This plan includes
15 commitments to enhance public sector integrity and transparency. This is a
considerable development and represents a significant commitment by government
to promote open, transparent and accountable government. The department is
responsible for relevant commitments under the plan, relating to combating
corporate crime and a national integrity framework. Under the first, the
government is actively exploring reforms to help improve our approach to
corporate corruption, including a proposed model for deferred prosecution agreements
and reforms to our foreign bribery offence to remove unnecessary impediments to
successful prosecution. Some of the staff here today are experts in that area.
As noted by Ms Rose, the NAP makes a number of commitments
relevant to matters of integrity. These include:
improving whistleblower protections in the tax and corporate
improving transparency of beneficial ownership;
enhance disclosure of extractive industry payments and government
revenue from oil, gas and mining sectors;
strengthening Australia's ability to prevent, detect and respond
to corporate crime, bribery of foreign officials, money laundering and
enhancing the integrity of the electoral system by working with
Parliament and the public to investigate the 2016 election, utilise technology
in elections and consider the framework of donations to political parties and
other political entities;
develop a national integrity framework aimed at preventing,
detecting and responding to corruption in the public sector through the
Government Business Roundtable on Anti-corruption (held on 31 March 2016) and reviewing the
jurisdiction and capabilities of the AFP and the ACLEI; and
review the Commonwealth's compliance with the Open Contracting
The DPMC coordinates Australia's involvement in, overall delivery
of and reporting for the OGP. As of July 2017, the interim working group had
been provided with reporting on each of the OGP's commitments. The DPMC is also
currently in the process of developing a website to include a dashboard with
the most up-to-date information on the delivery of the OGP.
To monitor and drive the implementation of the NAP, the DPMC
informed the committee that the government will establish an Open Government
Forum, comprising both government and civil society representatives.
This forum will replace the interim working group
and will drive the delivery of the OGP's commitments, develop the next NAP and
raise awareness of open government more generally.
The forum will also provide feedback on any improvements to the DPMC's
reporting of the OGP.
The committee was informed that a review of the jurisdiction and
capabilities of ACLEI and the AFP's FAC are planned under the NAP. This review
will 'occur in the context of public consultations to develop Australia's
second NAP', scheduled to be completed by 30 June 2018.
The committee queried DPMC about the Open Government Forum and
whether it will be tasked with informing the public about the Commonwealth's
multi‑agency approach to corruption, integrity and maladministration. In
response, DPMC said it was recommended:
...that the forum have a role in increasing awareness of open
government. The forum, when it first meets, will need to consider how it does
that. I only make the general comment, which may be most helpful, that I would
expect that its work in that respect will be focused on both current
commitments and broader aspirations around opportunities for more open
Two key aspects of the NAP are the foreign bribery reforms and
the creation of a deferred prosecution agreement scheme.
Foreign bribery reforms
The AGD outlined the government's reform agenda to improve the
effectiveness of offences in the Criminal Code to address foreign bribery and
remove possible impediments to successful prosecution.
To assist with the government's reforms, a consultation paper was
released on 4 April 2017, which 'sought comment on possible new offences of
recklessly bribing a foreign public official and failure to prevent foreign
The AGD, AFP and the CDPP contributed to the consultation paper.
These three agencies looked at the formulation of Australia's foreign bribery
offences, including the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign
Public Officials in International Business Transactions,
and through this process identified:
...potential issues with the offence that may be difficult to
prove beyond a reasonable doubt to that criminal standard. So, essentially, the
reforms that we laid out in the discussion paper look at both possible
amendments to the existing offence in section 70.2 of the Criminal Code and, also,
possible new offences that could be introduced to assist with enforcing our
foreign bribery offence.
The AGD website notes that submissions to the consultation paper
closed on 1 May 2017, and publishes the 16 submissions received.
Ms Rose informed the committee of the status of these reforms, noting that the
AGD has publicly consulted on a number of reforms, including those in respect of
foreign bribery, and that it is 'working on those as we speak'.
Deferred Prosecution Agreement
The government is also currently considering a Deferred Prosecution
Agreement Scheme (DPA scheme). Under the proposed DPA scheme, if a company 'has
engaged in a serious corporate crime, prosecutors would have the option to
invite the company to negotiate an agreement to comply with a range of
Conditions of the DPA scheme are likely to include:
the requirement that companies cooperate with any investigation;
paying a financial penalty;
admitting to agreed facts; and
implementing a program to improve the company's future
If an agreement is reached and a company fulfils its obligations
under the agreement, a company would not be prosecuted for its actions.
On 31 March 2017, the government released a consultation paper
outlining the proposed model of the DPA scheme. The AGD received 18 responses
to the consultation paper.
As with the foreign bribery reforms, Ms Rose commented that AGD is working on
the DPA scheme.
Register of beneficial ownership
The AGD submission noted that, on 13 February 2017, a public
consultation paper was released by Treasury 'seeking views on options to
increase transparency of the beneficial ownership of companies', including 'views
on the details, scope, and implementation of a beneficial ownership register
This was '[a] key milestone' for the government's commitment 'to improve
transparency of information on beneficial ownership and control of companies
available to relevant authorities' under the new NAP.
The AGD stated that:
The consultation delivers on commitments made by Australia at
the UK Anti-Corruption Summit in May 2016 and in the National Action Plan.
Additionally, at the G20 Leaders’ Summit in September 2016, Australia agreed to
the G20 2017-2018 Anti-Corruption Action Plan, which stated that transparency
over beneficial ownership is critical to preventing and exposing corruption and
No further updates were provided in evidence to the committee at
its hearings, and no other submitters or witnesses commented on this register.
The AGD's 2016 submission set out the following information in
respect of procurement rules and AusTender:
The Department of Finance is responsible for the 2014
Commonwealth Procurement Rules (CPRs) which bind non-corporate Commonwealth
entities and prescribed corporate Commonwealth entities. The CPRs combine both
Australia’s international obligations and good practice, and represent the
framework under which entities govern and undertake their own procurement. The
CPRs enable agencies to design processes that are robust, transparent and
instil confidence in government procurement. The CPRs also require that
entities subject to the PGPA Act report their procurement contracts on
AusTender, the Australian Government’s procurement information system.
The AGD's 2017 submission referred to this earlier information,
and also provided the following additional information:
The CPRs require entities subject to the [PGPA Act] to report
their procurement contracts valued at $10,000 and above on AusTender, the
Australian Government’s procurement information system. Finance is currently
undertaking a review of Austender reporting’s compliance with the Open
Contracting Data Standard. The review is a commitment under the Open Government
National Action Plan.
No further information was provided in evidence to the committee
at its hearings, and no other submitters or witnesses commented on AusTender.
The role of the Australian Parliament
The Australian Parliament plays an important role in the
Commonwealth integrity framework. The Parliament facilitates oversight of
Commonwealth departments and agencies, as well as parliamentarians themselves.
For example, departments and agencies are subjected to scrutiny via a range of
parliamentary mechanisms such as the Senate estimates process, the Joint
Committee of Public Accounts and Audits (JCPAA), other committee inquiries,
questions to ministers, and orders for the production of documents.
The integrity of parliamentarians themselves is subjected to
scrutiny via mechanisms such as the Committees of Privileges and Senators' or
In accordance with Senate standing orders, 'annual and additional
estimates, contained in the documents presenting the particulars of proposed
expenditure and additional expenditure' are referred to Senate legislative and
general purpose committees for examination and report.
These committees also have the power to inquire into and report on annual
reports and the performance of departments and agencies allocated to them.
The examination of annual reports often occurs in conjunction with
consideration of estimates; however, separate reports are presented.
Odgers' Australian Senate Practice describes
...a key element of the Senate's role as a check on government.
The estimates process provides the major opportunity for the Senate to assess
the performance of the public service and its administration of government
policy and programs. It has evolved from early efforts by senators to elicit
basic information about government expenditure to inform their decisions about
appropriation bills, to a wide-ranging examination of expenditure with an
increasing focus on performance. Its effect is cumulative, in that an
individual question may not have significant impact, but the sum of questions
and the process as a whole, as it has developed, help to keep executive
government accountable and place a great deal of information on the public
record on which judgments may be based.
A particular feature of Senate estimates, in contrast with other
inquiries by Senate legislative and general purpose committees, is the
requirement that estimates—both hearings and written answers to questions taken
on notice—must be in public: there is no capacity for estimates committees to
receive confidential material (in the absence of a specific resolution of the
Senate to that effect). This, combined with the broad scope of Senate estimates
('there are no areas in connection with the expenditure of public funds where
any person has a discretion to withhold details or explanations from the
Parliament or its committees unless the Parliament has expressly provided
mean that senators are empowered to question Commonwealth departments and
agencies on virtually all aspects of public administration.
The estimates process also serves to highlight the importance and
role of other agencies that form the national integrity framework. For example,
reports by the ANAO are sometimes relied upon during questioning of agencies in
relation to their financial and governance arrangements:
Senator JOHNSTON: Is it fair to say that this new
contract is for garrison health services?
Rear Adm. Walker: Yes.
Senator JOHNSTON: In paragraph 23 of the ANAO report
of 2010 said that they thought the real cost of delivering garrison health
services was somewhere between—and this is the cause of a little
consternation—$455 million and $654 million per annum. Defence's figures were
down as low as $293 million. They questioned the reliability of those figures given
the growth rate in the community as opposed to the cost growth rates inside
Defence, which they saw as much less than the community average, which they did
I want to come back to my original question. This new contract
is very interesting. I think the jury is still a little out on it, if I can be
so bold. What are the savings to Defence? I then want to talk to you about the
delivery of service and the maintenance of service to service personnel. What
other savings to Defence do you perceive in the budget with this contract for
$1.3 billion over four years?
Rear Adm. Walker: It is not really a question of
savings. We know that the cost of the increase of the cost of health care in
the civilian community, within the Australian community, is significantly above
the CPI historically, so we know the cost of health care continues to rise as
people's expectations of health care and their requirements rise. This is not about
cost savings because we will still provide the full range of health care, the
quality of health care. But if we can do it a little more efficiently, it means
I have more money in the budget to apply to healthcare delivery and that helps
to mediate some of those increases in healthcare delivery that we know occur.
But it is also that, if I do it more efficiently, then I can potentially either
have more staff which can reduce waiting times or I can provide different
health promotion type activities.
Senator JOHNSTON: So you think it will be better.
Rear Adm. Walker: We would not be doing it if we did
not think it was going to be better.
Senator JOHNSTON: That is given. How do you propose to
measure and gauge whether it is in fact better?
Rear Adm. Walker: I think, as I said in my opening
remarks, that in our previous contracts we have never had really any good
quality key performance indicators and for me it is about the delivery of
quality health care. Under the new contractual arrangements, there is a requirement
for our contractors to participate in what we call clinic and governance
activities, clinical reviews. This is about where we measure what health care
we are providing, how we measure complaints, how we address complaints, how we
look at if there are issues and about the performance. We have never had that
before and we have now improved our own clinical governance regime...
Integrity matters can and do arise in Senate estimates hearings.
For example, in 2014, the Secretary of the DIBP made the following statement to
the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee during
supplementary budget estimates:
On indulgence, this is a rather unusual circumstance that I
need to advise the committee of. When I last appeared before you I was in the
role of chief executive. I had been providing, as you would be well aware,
periodic updates on matters pertaining to integrity and corruption within our
service. When we met on 26 May, I was not in a position to disclose—largely
because I did not know, for reasons I am about to disclose— the circumstances
pertaining to the prosecution of my brother, Mr Fabio Pezzullo, who was a former
officer of the Customs and Border Protection Service. I had intended at that
time to include whatever updates there were pertaining to that matter once the
court proceedings pertaining to that matter had been concluded. That occurred
in June, when I was still the chief executive. I issued an all staff message to
explain the circumstances in the highly unusual circumstance where the head of
an agency was in a direct sibling relationship with a former officer who was
the subject of criminal proceedings. I advised my then staff on 12 June about those
With your permission, Chair, I would like to read out
relevant extracts from that all staff message and then, subject to your review
of the relevant document, I would like to table that document. This is a
document that is dated 12 June, so please bear with me and understand that it
is contemporaneous to that period:
With the conclusion of his
trial, I am now able to make a few brief remarks about the situation regarding
my brother, the former Customs and Border Protection officer Mr Fabio Pezzullo.
Now that these matters have been heard in court and are likely to be resolved
before the next meeting of the Senate estimates committee—which of
course is tonight—I intend to include an
appropriate public summary of these matters in any future updates on integrity
I provide to the Senate.
Since that time, I was elevated to the secretaryship, so this
is really my only opportunity to discharge that commitment.
For obvious reasons to do with
preventing any conflict of interest or perceived conflict of interest, I have
been kept at arm's length from this matter both as Chief Operating Officer prior
to September 2012, as the acting CEO of the service from September 2012 to
February 2013 and as CEO since February 2013. Successive ministers have been
briefed on this matter and arrangements were put in place when I became the CEO
to ensure that I was shielded from relevant information concerning the case and
would not be placed in a position of having to make any decisions regarding
former officer Pezzullo should it have ever come to that. The fact that such
arrangements were to be put in place was advised to the relevant Senate
estimates committee in February 2013 in public evidence given by the then
Secretary of the [AGD], Mr Wilkins.
The all staff message then goes on to talk about the highly
unusual circumstance that this gave rise to and the need for such separation to
be put in place. It concluded with the following statement:
This case, involving my
brother, shows that no-one is above the law and the matter has been dealt with
in accordance with the law, as should always be the case.
I am now in a position to advise the committee that there are
no further proceedings pending. When we last met, the matter was sub judice. I
would like to consider the matter closed.
While in this instance the integrity matter was not first
uncovered during an estimates hearing, it serves to demonstrate that
Commonwealth public servants and senators alike view estimates as a forum in
which it is appropriate to disclose and discuss such matters. More broadly, and
as already highlighted, Senate estimates hold Commonwealth public sector
agencies to account and require them to assess and explain their performance,
including their integrity.
Joint Committee of Public Accounts
The JCPAA is one of the Parliament's longest standing committees,
having been established in 1913.
The JCPAA is established by the Public Accounts and Audit Committee Act 1951
and is required, among other matters, to examine the accounts of the
Commonwealth, examine the financial affairs of Commonwealth authorities, and
examine all reports of the Auditor-General. The JCPAA also oversees the ANAO
The JCPAA's role in examining all reports of the Auditor-General
mean it regularly undertakes detailed scrutiny of and makes recommendations on
the administration of commonwealth agencies and the expenditure of public
funds. For example, the JCPAA recently examined two reports of the
Auditor-General on Commonwealth infrastructure spending in relation to the East
West Link Project in Melbourne and the WestConnex Project in Sydney and made a
series of recommendations about the Department of Infrastructure and Regional
Development's administration of this expenditure.
Senate and House Standing Committees, as well as Joint
Parliamentary Committees, inquire into matters referred to them by Parliament
and, in the case of House committees, a minister, and in the case of certain
joint committees, may self-refer matters for inquiry and report.
Committees largely give consideration to 'proposed laws, the
scrutiny of the conduct of public administration and consideration of policy
and the role of committees in allowing 'citizens to air grievances about
government and bring to light mistreatment of citizens by government'
is well recognised.
For example, in 2012 the House Standing Committee on Economics
undertook detailed scrutiny of the knowledge and actions of the board of the
Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) with respect to foreign bribery allegations
involving its subsidiaries, Note Printing Australia and Securency International.
The committee undertook this scrutiny by way of its regular examination of the
RBA's annual report, rather than a specific reference.
The PJCACLEI reported in 2013 on its examination of the integrity
of overseas Commonwealth law enforcement operations. This report also addressed
the Securency International and Note Printing Australia allegations, as well as
the Commonwealth's integrity system more generally.
The Senate Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport References
Committee has recently been tasked with inquiring into the integrity of the
water market in the Murray-Darling, following allegations that
Commonwealth-owned environmental water had, in effect, been stolen and used for
The PJSCEM recently tabled a report on foreign donations as part
of its broader inquiry into the conduct of the 2016 federal election. This
report was a response to 'ongoing community concern that there is potential for
foreign actors to use donations to influence domestic policy decision making
and electoral outcomes', and recommended, among other matters, 'a prohibition
on donations from foreign citizens and foreign entities to Australian
registered political parties, associated entities and third parties'.
The closely related matter of how influential political donations are on public
policy decision making will be further examined by the recently established
Senate Select Committee into the Political Influence of Donations.
Questions to ministers
The Senate makes provisions for questions to be asked of
ministers in a number of ways: as discussed earlier, questions are put to
ministers and public officials during the Senate estimates process; questions
without notice may be put to ministers on public affairs during question time
on each sitting day; and questions may also be provided on notice to the Clerk
of the Senate.
Whilst senators are able to ask questions of ministers during
question time, there is no obligation for ministers to provide an answer.
However, rulings on this matter relate to the 'conduct of question time and do
not preclude the Senate taking some separate action to obtain the required
Senators may submit questions on notice to the Clerk of the
Senate. These questions are placed on the Notice Paper. According to Odgers'
'[a] senator who asks a question on notice and does not receive an answer
within 30 days may seek an explanation and take certain other actions'. Other
the senator may ask the relevant minister for an explanation;
at the conclusion of the explanation, the senator may move
without notice 'that the Senate take note of the explanation'; or
'in the event that the minister does not provide an explanation,
the senator may, without notice, move a motion with regard to the minister's
failure to provide either an answer or an explanation'.
Orders for the production of
Under standing order 164, the Senate may make an order for the
production of documents.
The Senate uses orders for documents to obtain information about matters of concern
to the Senate. These orders:
...usually relate to documents in the control of a minister,
but may refer to documents controlled by other persons. Documents called for
are often the subject of some political controversy, but may simply relate to
useful information not available elsewhere.
An order for the production of documents may be directed to a
person or body in possession of documents, or a person or body having the
information to compile documents. The Senate has the power to order the
production of documents on a permanent basis, requiring periodic production of
documents for an indefinite period.
Odgers' notes the importance of this power:
Orders for production of documents are among the most
significant procedures available to the Senate to deal with matters of public
interest giving rise to questions of ministerial accountability or the
accountability of statutory bodies or officers.
A refusal by government to comply with an order for documents is
commonly based on an argument that to produce the document would not be in the
A refusal to comply with such an order may result in the Senate
treating the refusal as a contempt of the Senate. However, in cases of
government refusal without due cause, the Senate:
...has preferred political remedies. In extreme cases the
Senate, to punish the government for not producing a document, could resort to
more drastic measures than censure of the government, such as refusing to
consider government legislation.
Committees of Privileges and
Senators' and Members' Interests
The Committees of Privileges and Senators' and Members' Interests
play important roles in maintaining the integrity of the parliamentary process
and also the integrity of senators and members by requiring them to declare financial
The Privileges Committees inquire into privilege matters referred
to them by their respective Houses; these privilege matters largely relate to
cases of alleged interference with senators or members and committees, as well
as responses by persons to statements made about them in the Senate or the
House. Privilege matters also include those where it is alleged that a senator
or member may have acted contrary to parliamentary privilege, for example by
misleading a House.
The Senators' Interests Committee was first established on 17
March 1994 as a commitment given by the government as part of a package of
accountability measures in the wake of the forced resignation of the Minister
for Environment, Sport and Territories over the alleged misallocation of
certain cultural and sporting grants. The House of Representatives has a single
Committee of Privileges and Members' Interests.
Resolutions of the Senate and the House of Representatives
require senators and members to declare specified interests both for themselves
and also interests of their partner and dependent children of which they are
aware. In relation to senators, the register of senators' interests is publicly
available; that relating to partners and dependent children is not. The Register
of Members' Interests makes publicly available interests of members and their
partner and dependent children.
A registrable interest is:
a shareholding in public and private companies;
family and business trusts and nominee companies in which a beneficial
interest is held and in which the senator or member, senator's or member's
spouse or partner, or a dependent child is a trustee;
registered directorships of companies;
the nature of bonds, debentures and like investments;
saving or investment accounts;
any other assets (excluding household and personal effects) each
valued at more than $7500;
the nature of any other substantial sources of income;
gifts valued at more than $750 received from official sources or
at more than $300 or more where received from other than official sources;
any sponsored travel or hospitality received where the value of
the sponsorship or hospitality exceeds $300;
being an officeholder of or a financial contributor donating $300
or more in any single calendar year to any organisation; and
any other interests where a conflict of interest with a senator's
public duties could foreseeably arise or be seen to arise.
The Senate requires senators to provide a statement of
- 28 days after the first meeting of the Senate after 1
July first occurring after a general election; and
- 28 days after the first meeting of the Senate after a
simultaneous dissolution of the Senate and the House of Representatives; and
- 28 days after making and subscribing an oath or
affirmation of allegiance as a senator for a Territory or appointed or chosen
to fill a vacancy in the Senate...
The House requires members to provide a statement of registrable
interests within 28 days of making and subscribing an oath or affirmation as a member
of the House of Representatives.
Both houses require senators and members to update their
statement where changes occur to their registrable interests: the Senate within
35 days of the change and the House within 28 days.
Senators and members who knowingly fail to provide, fail to
provide within specified time frames and/or provide a false or misleading declaration
are guilty of a contempt and are to be dealt with by the Senate or the House
Oversight of parliamentarians'
conduct by Privileges Committees
As stated above, the Privileges Committees are able to examine
the conduct of members of their respective houses where that conduct may have
interfered with the proceedings of either house or with the performance by a
member of their duties. The ability of the Senate and the House of
Representatives to make findings of contempt, generally following a
recommendation of their respective Privileges Committees, is subject to a
statutory test established by section 4 of the Parliamentary Privileges Act
which specifies that:
Conduct (including the use of words) does not constitute an
offence against a House unless it amounts, or is intended or likely to amount,
to an improper interference with the free exercise by a House or committee of
its authority or functions, or with the free performance by a member of the
member’s duties as a member.
As part of a series of resolutions concerning parliamentary
privilege agreed to on 25 February 1988, the Senate established criteria to be
taken into account by the Committee of Privileges when examining possible
and identified a number of matters that may be treated as contempts of the
Senate. These matters include activities that go to the integrity of senators
in the performance of their duties, including the following:
Improper influence of senators
person shall not, by fraud, intimidation, force or threat of any kind, by the
offer or promise of any inducement or benefit of any kind, or by other improper
means, influence a senator in the senator’s conduct as a senator or induce a
senator to be absent from the Senate or a committee.
Senators seeking benefits etc.
senator shall not ask for, receive or obtain, any property or benefit for the
senator, or another person, on any understanding that the senator will be
influenced in the discharge of the senator’s duties, or enter into any contract,
understanding or arrangement having the effect, or which may have the effect,
of controlling or limiting the Senator’s independence or freedom of action as a
senator, or pursuant to which the senator is in any way to act as the
representative of any outside body in the discharge of the
The House of Representatives Practice also identifies
several relevant categories of behaviour that could be punished as contempts by
the House, including '[c]orruption in the execution of their office as Members'
and '[l]obbying for reward or consideration'.
These specific categories of behaviour are further outlined below in the
discussion regarding the former Member for Dunkley, the Hon. Bruce Billson.
The following sections briefly describe instances where the
Privileges Committees have received references that broadly concern the
integrity of parliamentarians. While the following examples are drawn from the
federal Parliament, the committee notes that the privileges committees of state
parliaments play similar roles in examining the conduct of parliamentarians and
that further examples can be drawn from these jurisdictions.
Senate Standing Committee of
Privileges—150th and 142nd reports
The Senate Standing Committee of Privileges dealt with allegations
concerning the integrity of senators' conduct in its 150th and 142nd
reports. The following matter was the subject of its 150th report:
Having regard to matters raised by Senator Kroger relating to
political donations made by Mr Graeme Wood, arrangements surrounding the sale
of the Triabunna woodchip mill by Gunns Ltd and questions without notice asked
by Senator Bob Brown and Senator Milne:
any person, by the offer or promise of an inducement or benefit, or by other
improper means, attempted to influence a senator in the senator’s conduct as a
senator, and whether any contempt was committed in that regard; and
Senator Bob Brown received any benefit for himself or another person on the
understanding that he would be influenced in the discharge of his duties as a
senator, or whether he entered into any contract, understanding or arrangement
having the effect, or possibly having the effect, of controlling or limiting
his independence or freedom of action as a senator or pursuant to which he or
any other senator acted as the representative of an outside body in the
discharge of their duties as senators, and whether any contempt was committed
in those regards.
The President of the Senate summarised the matter and the
seriousness of the allegations in a statement to the Senate on 23 November
The matter concerns a possible relationship between Senator
Bob Brown and Mr Graham Wood and whether, on the one hand, Senator Brown sought
a benefit from Mr Wood in the form of political donations on the understanding
that he would act in Mr Wood’s interests in the Senate or, on the other hand,
whether Mr Wood, through large political donations, improperly influenced
Senator Brown and other Australian Greens senators, including Senator Milne, in
the discharge of their duties as senators, including by the asking of questions
...there is no question that the matters raised by Senator
Kroger are very serious ones. The freedom of individual members of parliament
to perform their duties on behalf of the people they represent and the need for
them to be seen to be free of any improper external influence are of
fundamental importance. Matters such as these go directly to the central
purpose of the law of parliamentary privilege, which is to protect the
integrity of proceedings in parliament.
The Committee of Privileges agreed the allegations were serious
and also noted that they centred on forms of contempt that it had not
previously dealt with. Specifically, the allegations went to the improper
influence of senators ‘by
the offer or promise of any inducement or benefit’ and to senators seeking
benefits, as set out in privilege resolutions 6(2) and 6(3).
At the conclusion of its inquiry into this matter, having
considered submissions from senators Brown and Milne and from Mr Wood in
addition to the material supplied by Senator Kroger to support the reference,
the Committee of Privileges came to the following conclusion:
Given that the committee has found that the evidence before
it did not support the contentions in either paragraph of the terms of
reference, the committee concludes that no question of contempt
arises in regard to the matter referred.
The 142nd report of the Committee of Privileges dealt
with two references arising from the Senate Economics Legislation Committee
hearing on 19 June 2009. The report includes the following summary of the
complex background to these two references:
Late in 2008, as the global financial crisis took hold, two
major providers of wholesale floorplan finance to car dealers announced that
they would be quitting the Australian market. This action was expected to have
a major impact on car dealers who could struggle to secure alternative finance
to fund their showroom vehicles. On 5 December 2008, the Prime Minister and
Treasurer announced that a Special Purpose Vehicle, also known as OzCar, would
be established to assist in restoring confidence to the market. A trust was
created in January 2009 and a program manager selected to administer funds
provided by the four major banks from the issuing of securities. The
Commonwealth Government would provide a guarantee to securities issued by the
scheme with less than a AAA credit rating. A bill, the Car Dealership Financing
Guarantee Appropriation Bill 2009, was drafted to appropriate money to fund any
claims made on the government's guarantee.9 Mr Godwin Grech was the Treasury
fficial chosen to oversee the implementation of the policy. He reported to his
senior officers in Treasury, Mr David Martine and Mr Jim Murphy.
Mr Grech subsequently alleged that the Prime Minister and the
Treasurer (or their offices) had made representations on behalf of a particular
car dealer in Queensland who had lent the Prime Minister an ageing utility to
use for electorate business. Thus the affair became known in the media as
'Utegate' and the Opposition pursued the Prime Minister and Treasurer over
allegations of political interference and of misleading Parliament, some of the
most serious allegations that can be made against ministers. It later emerged
that Mr Grech had provided information to Mr Turnbull and Senator Abetz and had
shown them a copy of an email which was subsequently revealed to be fabricated.
There is no suggestion that any one other than Mr Grech was aware of this fact
at the time. The information was used in questions in the House and in Senate
committee hearings. Mr Turnbull and Senator Abetz subsequently admitted to
having been misled by Mr Grech.
The first reference to the Committee of Privileges was initiated
by Senator Bill Heffernan and concerned possible adverse actions taken
against a witness, in this case Mr Grech, as a consequence of his evidence. The
alleged adverse actions included threats, public and private intimidation,
'political backgrounding in the media', and the AFP conducting a search of Mr
In respect of this element of its inquiry, the committee found that no contempt
The second reference, which goes more directly to the integrity
of parliamentarians, was initiated by Senator Chris Evans and concerned the
possible provision of false or misleading evidence to a committee, or the
improper interference with a committee hearing. The reference was made in the
In relation to the hearing of the Economics Legislation
Committee on 19 June 2009 on the OzCar Program:
there was any false or misleading evidence given, particularly by reference to
a document that was later admitted to be false;
there was any improper interference with the hearing, particularly by any
collusive prearrangement of the questions to be asked and the answers to be
given for an undisclosed purpose,
and, if so, whether any contempt was committed in that
With respect to the first element of this reference, the
Committee of Privileges found that there was evidence that the 'the Economics
Legislation Committee was misled by the references to a document later admitted
to be false'.
The committee also determined that:
Senator Abetz did not give false or misleading evidence to,
or cause any improper interference with, the hearing of the Economics
Legislation Committee. He did not know at the time that it was a false
document. The committee does not dispute that Senator Abetz was acting in good
faith in using material supplied by a source he did not doubt.
With respect to the second element of the reference, the
There was no inappropriate pre-arrangement by Senator Abetz of questions
and answers for the hearing of the Economics Legislation Committee.
Questions which may have a political motive are a commonplace and
unremarkable part of the processes employed by senators for holding governments
The Committee of Privileges determined Mr Grech's evidence to the
Economics Legislation Committee was 'objectively false and misleading', and
that the committee was 'also misled by references to an email later revealed to
have been fabricated by Mr Grech'.
However, the Committee of Privileges was not able to make findings about Mr
Grech's state of mind at the time of these events and was therefore unable to
make a finding of contempt by misleading the Senate against him as such a
finding depends on establishing the existence of a subjective intention to
mislead the Senate.
The Thomson matter
On 24 November 2014, the House of Representatives referred the
following matter to the House Committee of Privileges and Members' Interests:
Whether, in the course of his statement to the House on 21
May 2012, and having regard to the findings of the Melbourne Magistrates Court
on 18 February 2014 in relation to Mr Thomson, the former Member for Dobell, Mr
Craig Thomson, deliberately misled the House.
The statement in question was made by Mr Thomson in response to a
report of Fair Work Australia addressing his conduct as the national secretary
of the Health Services Union (HSU) prior to entering Parliament.
Mr Thomson criticised the process employed by Fair Work Australia and denied
any wrongdoing in relation to his expenditure of HSU funds. Mr Thomson's use of
a HSU credit card was then the subject of legal proceedings and he was
eventually found guilty by the County Court of Victoria with respect to 13
charges of theft.
The Committee of Privileges and Members' Interests examined the
circumstances of Mr Thomson's statement and came to the following conclusion in
its report of March 2016:
The committee could find no evidence to support Mr Thomson’s
version of what took place in relation to himself or of his claims about the
truth of his statement, and finds the explanation in the statement to be
implausible. From all the circumstances, the committee believes it can draw the
inference that Mr Thomson, the then Member for Dobell, in the course of his
statement to the House on 21 May 2012, deliberately misled the House.
The committee also found:
...the deliberate misleading of
the House in the circumstances of this case would be likely to amount to an
improper interference with the free exercise by the House of its authority or
functions, and finds Mr Thomson’s conduct in deliberately misleading the House
constitutes a contempt of the House.
While noting that the imposition of a punishment for a contempt
of the House is a matter to be determined by the House, the committee
recommended that an appropriate penalty in this instance would be for the House
to reprimand Mr Thomson. The House agreed to the proposed punishment on 4
The Billson matter
On 15 August 2017, the Manager of Opposition Business in the
House of Representatives, the Hon. Tony Burke MP, raised as a
matter of privilege media reports that the former Member for Dunkley, the Hon.
Bruce Billson, was appointed as director of the Franchise Council of Australia
whilst still a member of the House of Representatives (the Billson matter).
Upon becoming the director, Mr Billson reportedly began receiving a salary of
$75 000 per year. Mr Burke raised a number of concerns, including, but not
...whether his conduct as a member of the House both in and
outside of the chamber was influenced by the payments he received from the
Franchise Council of Australia, including whether any contributions he made in
debates in the House may have matched public positions held by the Franchise
Council of Australia; whether Mr Billson advocated for, or sought to advance,
the interests of the Franchise Council of Australia while a member of the
House, owing to the payments he received from the Franchise Council of
Australia; whether Mr Billson sought to influence the conduct of other members
or ministers to benefit the Franchise Council of Australia, owing to the
payments he received from this lobby group; and whether the Franchise Council
of Australia, through its payments, sought to influence Mr Billson in his
conduct as a member of the House both in and outside of the chamber.
Mr Burke tabled documents, which in the Opposition's view were
evidence of Mr Billson's advocacy for the interests of the Franchise Council of
Australia whilst he was in office (in particular, Mr Billson's commentary about
amendments to section 46 of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010
and his advocacy for a Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman).
Mr Burke also questioned whether Mr Billson 'sought to influence
other members of parliament to advance the interests of the Franchise Council
of Australia', stating:
These matters raise serious concerns about the motivation for
every action Mr Billson took as a member of parliament while he was reportedly
being secretly paid by the Franchise Council of Australia. I also note that,
contrary to the House resolution on the registration of members' interests, it
is reported that Mr Billson failed to declare both his new position and the
income he received in respect of this employment. It is not clear whether this
apparent non-disclosure was knowing or unknowing. In relation to this matter, I
understand the shadow Attorney-General has, in accordance with practice,
written directly to the Committee of Privileges and Members' Interests.
On 4 September 2017, the Speaker of the House of Representatives
further considered the Billson matter. The Speaker, referring to House of
Representatives Practice, provided two relevant matters that could be
considered as contempts. The first, quoting directly from Erskine May's
treatise on the law, privileges, proceedings and the usage of Parliament,
was corruption in the execution of a member's office as a member:
The acceptance by a Member of either House of a bribe to
influence him in his conduct as a Member, or of any fee, compensation or reward
in connection with the promotion of or opposition to any bill, resolution,
matter or thing submitted or intended to be submitted to either House, or to a
committee is a contempt.
With regard to the second, lobbying for reward or consideration,
the Speaker said:
No Members of the House shall, in consideration of any
remuneration, fee, payment, reward or benefit in kind, direct or indirect,
...advocate or initiate any cause or matter on behalf of any outside body or
individual; or urge any Member of either House of Parliament, including
Ministers, to do so, by means of any speech, Question, Motion, introduction of
a bill, or amendment to a Motion or Bill.
The Speaker commented that 'these matters are not unrelated and
there could be a fine distinction between them' and concluded that he was not
in a 'position to determine the nature of any connection between the
appointment of Mr Billson to the Franchise Council and his subsequent
statements and actions'.
The Speaker added that the question of these matters being a contempt must meet
the test found under section 4 of the Parliamentary Privileges Act 1987,
conduct that is 'intended or likely to amount, to an improper interference with
the free exercise by a House or committee of its authority or functions'.
The Speaker continued that he was not in a position to determine
whether there is a prima facie case. However, the Speaker reflected upon the
existence of a House of Commons' Code of Conduct, and the absence thereof in
the House of Representatives:
...in the United Kingdom, matters to do with lobbying for
reward or consideration would now generally be dealt with as matters of conduct
under the House of Commons' Code of Conduct. The House of Representatives does
not have a similar code for members, even though a case such as this raises
matters that may, potentially, be more to do with appropriate conduct than
contempt. In this regard, I note that the Committee of Privileges and Members'
Interests has responsibility under the standing orders for questions about a
code of conduct for members. I am willing to give precedence to a motion for
matters to do with contempt or conduct in relation to the circumstances raised
by the Manager of Opposition Business to be referred to the Committee of
Privileges and Members' Interests. In doing so, I reiterate that I have not
made a determination that there is a prima facie case, but I'm sufficiently
concerned by the matters raised to consider that they should be examined by the
The House of Representatives subsequently agreed to refer the
Billson matter to the Committee of Privileges and Members' Interests. The
committee will examine the conduct of Mr Billson and the Franchise Council of
Australia during the time Mr Billson was in Parliament, and whether this:
...amounts to corruption in the execution of his office as a
member of the House such as to constitute a contempt of the House, and whether
his conduct amounts to lobbying for reward or consideration such as to
constitute a contempt of the House and whether the Franchise Council, or any of
its staff or directors, has by appointing and paying Mr Billson as a director
of that lobby group while he was still a member of the House, sought to bribe,
or has bribed a member of the House, such as to constitute a contempt of the
A parliamentary code of conduct
Both the House of Representatives and the Senate have previously
considered the merits of a parliamentary code of conduct.
In 2011, the House of Representatives Committee of Privileges and
Members' Interests released a discussion paper considering a draft code of
conduct for Members. The House committee preferred 'a code of conduct based on
aspirational principles and values' but ultimately 'decided not to reach a
concluded view on the merits of adopting a code of conduct'.
It acknowledged a code of conduct would make a modest contribution to improve
the perception of Parliament and parliamentarians in the community; however,
argued that a code would not 'guarantee against the behaviour of members being
found to fall short of the standard set by the code'.
With reference to 'recent scandals at Westminster', the committee remarked:
...that mistakes can be made and misconduct can occur even when
a code of conduct for members is in place. The Committee notes also that the
number of cases of proven misconduct was relatively small although the media
reports might lead to a different impression. When these events were revealed
the individual Members could be and were measured against the code and this
In 2012, the Committee of Senators' Interests inquired into the
development of a code of conduct for senators, including the House committee's
The Senate committee stated that it was:
not convinced that there is any objective evidence showing
that the adoption of an aspirational, principles-based code has improved the
perceptions of parliaments and parliamentarians in other jurisdictions.
Accordingly, the committee does not recommend that the Senate go down that
The Senate committee continued:
the committee does not consider it necessary to put in place
a formal code in order to better articulate the standards expected of
parliamentarians. The committee sees value in bringing together the raft of
existing provisions relating to the conduct of senators and related obligations.
The areas covered by existing regimes would continue to
contain specific, enforceable provisions; whereas the general principles would
provide a frame of reference against which anyone may make their own judgements
about how well parliamentarians are meeting these requirements.
If the aim is an improvement in standards, the approach that
has been shown to work is to identify particular concerns and devise systems of
regulation that are appropriate to address them. An advantage of bringing these
provisions together in a structured way is the opportunity to identify whether
there are any gaps in the coverage of that framework, and then to make
decisions about how to properly address those gaps, with targeted measures,
rather than with a generic and largely unenforceable code.
The Senate committee concluded that the Senate should not adopt a
code of conduct 'unless it is meaningful, workable and reasonable likely to be
effective' nor should it adopt the code contained in the House committee's
Instead, the Senate committee argued a better approach would be to improve
existing parliamentary standards by:
consolidating the numerous provisions which regulate the conduct
identifying existing gaps in conduct or ethical matters; and
implementing specific measures to address those gaps.
Other integrity measures concerning parliamentarians and the ministry
The following measures concern the oversight of Commonwealth parliamentarians
with respect to their work expenses, as well as standards of ministerial and
ministerial staff behaviour.
Independent Parliamentary Expenses
On 13 January 2014, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced
changes to the administration of parliamentarians' work expenses, which
included the establishment of the Independent Parliamentary Expenses Authority
The IPEA was established with the passage of the Independent
Parliamentary Expenses Authority Act 2017 (IPEA Act). The IPEA was
initially established as an executive agency under the PS Act,
and commenced operation as an independent statutory body on 1 July 2017.
IPEA's core functions include:
Giving advice to parliamentarians
and [Members of Parliament (Staff) Act
1984 (MOP(S) Act)] staff about travel
expenses and travel allowances.
Monitoring the travel expenses and
travel allowances of parliamentarian and MOP(S) Act staff.
Preparing regular reports relating
all work expenses, travel expenses
and travel allowances claimed by parliamentarians
travel expenses and travel
allowances claimed by MOP(S) Act staff.
Conducting audits relating to:
all work expenses, travel expenses
and travel allowances claimed by parliamentarians
travel expenses and travel
allowances claimed by MOP(S) Act staff.
Processing claims relating to
travel expenses and travel allowances of parliamentarians and their staff.
Originally, reports on parliamentarians' expenditure were done
through the Department of Finance and released every six months. The IPEA will
now initially report on a quarterly basis, and progressively move towards a
monthly reporting regime 'to improve transparency and accountability for both
parliamentarians' and MOP(S) Act staff work expenses'.
With respect to the establishment of the IPEA, Professor John
McMillan, the Acting New South Wales Ombudsman, stated that its creation 'has
taken away quite a bit of the ground of difficulty, it seems to me, in getting
adoption of an anticorruption body with jurisdiction over the parliament as
Professor A.J. Brown of Griffith University also spoke in favour
of the establishment of the IPEA, expressing his opinion that 'it is a very
Statement of Ministerial Standards
The Statement of Ministerial Standards is a set of standards that
ministers and assistant ministers are expected to follow to 'ensure public
confidence in them and in the government'.
The principles provided in the document include how ministers and assistant ministers
are to carry out their duties. In general terms these include:
acting with integrity through lawful and disinterested exercise
of the statutory and other powers available to them and their office;
observing fairness in making official decisions;
accepting accountability for the exercise of their powers and
functions of their office; and
accepting the full implications of the principle of ministerial
The statement specifies that ministers are not to use public
office for private purposes and must not use 'information that they gain in the
course of their official duties, including in the course of Cabinet
discussions, for personal gain or the benefit of any other person'.
Further, ministers must declare and register their personal
interests, and notify the Prime Minister within 28 days if there is any
significant change in their private interests. A failure to do so is considered
a breach of these standards.
The committee heard that there is capacity for the Prime Minister
to seek advice from the head of the DPMC as to whether a matter might be a perceived
conflict of interest. If a minister is seeking advice, then DPMC said:
...it would normally be through the Prime Minister, but I would
not want to rule out the possibility that ministers might seek advice outside.
But the statement of standards refers to advice being sought and the Prime
Minister being able to seek advice. It might be possible that ministers seek
advice in other circumstances; you just would not necessarily know.
The ministerial standards do not set out particular sanctions if
a minister is in breach of any of the standards outlined in the document.
The DPMC did not confirm that these ministerial standards are a component of
the Commonwealth's integrity framework, but did argue that 'it certainly goes
to expectations...[with] references in there to standards of integrity and
expectations of the ministry'.
Statement of Standards for
Ministerial staff, including the staff of Parliamentary
Secretaries, are bound by the Statement of Standards for Ministerial Staff
which 'sets out the standards that Ministerial staff are expected to meet in
the performance of their duties'.
For example, ministerial staff must:
8. Make themselves aware of the Values and Code of Conduct
which bind [APS] and Parliamentary Service employees.'
19.Comply with all applicable Australian laws.
20.Comply with all applicable codes of conduct, including the
Lobbying Code of Conduct.
Ministerial staff are employed pursuant to the MOP(S) Act;
however, this act does not impose any specific requirements on staff with
respect to their conduct, and no delegated legislation is currently in force.
Lobbying Code of Conduct and
Register of Lobbyists
The Lobbying Code of Conduct and the Register of Lobbyists (the
register) serves as a means to monitor the contact between representatives of
the Australian government and lobbyists, and ensure contact is in accordance
with 'public expectations of transparency, integrity, and honesty'.
The Lobbyist Code of Conduct provides details of:
what constitutes a lobbyist and lobbyist activities;
the principles that lobbyist will observe when engaging with a
rules that prohibit contact between government representatives
and an unregistered lobbyist;
rules that prohibit ministers and parliamentary secretaries from
becoming a lobbyist for a period of 18 months after they cease to hold office;
the requirement that government representatives report breaches
of the code to the secretary of the DPMC.
The Lobbying Code of Conduct and the register are administered by
Role of the media
An integral part of the current integrity framework is the role of
the media, or 'fourth estate'. The committee heard evidence that highlighted
the importance of the media's part in conducting investigations and holding
public officials, including parliamentarians, to account. Further, the
committee discussed interactions between the media and state integrity
The AGD's submission identified Australia's free and open media
as playing an integral part 'in protecting against corruption by enabling
scrutiny of both the public and private sectors'.
The importance of the media, particularly in the scrutiny of
politicians and their expenses, was also noted by the Clerk of the House of
Representatives, Mr David Elder. Mr Elder said the media plays a very
important role in the protective regime, and:
I am sure senators are very much aware of the scrutiny the
media give to all those returns that are made by individual members and
senators. They are now connecting declaration of interest statements with
travel arrangements and making some interesting connections as a result.
Members and senators are feeling the impact of that. That enormous amount of
transparency—I think we need to recognise just how significant it is and
therefore the degree of scrutiny that is available of individual activities, of
individual members and senators, as a result of what is available already in
Other witnesses highlighted the importance of the federal media
and its scrutiny of political expenses. Professor McMillan said '[t]here is no
doubt, too, that at the national level the media is much more zealous in
uncovering defaults by parliamentarians than perhaps at state level'.
The Hon. Dr Peter Phelps MLC made a comparison between media
coverage and investigative powers of the Commonwealth press gallery versus the
NSW press gallery:
And you have a great press gallery. Why does corruption
flourish at a local government level? Because there is very little press
coverage of it. There is press coverage of the state gallery and the federal
gallery. If you were an official and you were to call up Kylar Loussikian or
Sharri Markson and Bevan Shields say, 'Mate, have I got a yarn for you,' you
have also got that outlet. You have a very professional—not that the New South
Wales press gallery is not professional, but it is small and it is overworked.
The federal press gallery is large, and it is also overworked, but it has a
greater capacity to do that sort of investigative journalism. Why is there so
much corruption in the local government? Because it is done in the dark. No-one
pays too much account to it, especially in the media.
The AEC and Commonwealth Ombudsman also referred to the role the
media has in informing their activities. The AEC said allegations of corruption
may be reported by the media and in these cases the AEC would look at the
material to evaluate the situation.
The Commonwealth Ombudsman noted the 'media will sometimes draw attention to
things, so we are very astute to what is happening in there'.
Despite the role and success of the media in identifying and
reporting on corruption and misconduct, Mr Nick McKenzie from Fairfax noted the
media's limitations. When discussing the investigation into Eddie Obied, Mr
McKenzie said that without the NSW ICAC:
...there would have been no exposure of Eddie Obeid. The media
played a small but important role in putting some of Eddie Obeid's conduct on
the public record but, without ICAC's extraordinary powers of exposure, the
depth of his corruption and the way it stained and infiltrated much of the New
South Wales political system would not have been exposed.
Audit of the existing Commonwealth integrity framework
As noted in chapter 1, a partnership—between Griffith University,
Flinders University, the University of the Sunshine Coast, TIA, the New South
Wales Ombudsman, the Queensland Integrity Commissioner and the Crime and
Corruption Commission, Queensland—is currently reviewing the national integrity
system. This project, funded through the Australian Research Council (ARC)
Linkage Project, is titled Strengthening Australia's National Integrity
System: Priorities for Reform and its purpose is to assist the debate on 'key
issues and options for the strengthening of Australia's system of integrity,
accountability and anti-corruption'.
The first discussion paper, titled A Federal Anti-Corruption
Agency for Australia was released in March 2017. This discussion paper's
opening chapter outlines TIA's support for a broad-based federal
anti-corruption agency 'to ensure a comprehensive approach to corruption risks
beyond the criminal investigation system, and support stronger parliamentary
A number of gaps and weaknesses are identified, including:
current federal agencies' anti-corruption efforts are
unsupervised (other than criminal conduct reported to the AFP) and approximately
half of the total federal public sector are not in the jurisdiction of the
limited independent oversight exists to support federal
parliamentary integrity, other than AFP investigations into criminal conduct
and the IPEA;
prevention, risk assessment and the monitoring of activities are
the AFP's criminal law enforcement prioritises foreign bribery,
anti-money laundering and other crimes, with limited capacity to investigate
'soft' or 'grey area' corruption across the federal sector.
The opening chapter also notes that a:
...federal anti-corruption agency will not provide solutions to
these gaps, unless it—or alternative strategies—are well designed to achieve
the intended purpose.
A further issue identified in the opening chapter is TIA's view
that there is no clear understanding of 'best practice' principles for the
design and implementation of anti-corruption agencies in Australia. Further, TIA
argues that governments in all jurisdictions 'need to agree on, and implement,
best practice principles for the powers and accountabilities of their'
The authors refer to the Council of Australian Government's Law, Crime and
Community Safety Council as a possible forum to address this matter.
The second chapter comprises a research paper by Professor Appleby
and Dr Hoole titled Integrity of Purpose: Designing a Federal
Broadly, in their research paper Professor Appleby and Dr Hoole
consider an integrity of purpose theory that provides a 'vision of how
accountability institutions can be designed'. This is followed by the
application of this theory to the 'design of a prospective federal
anti-corruption commission in Australia'.
The paper supports the establishment of a national integrity
commission, but the authors caution against rushing to introduce such a body. Professor
Appleby and Dr Hoole highlight the importance of 'considering fundamental
questions of design in a coherent and principled fashion'.
The authors address a number of key design elements for a federal
anti‑corruption agency. These include surveying the current federal
integrity landscape with the goal of identifying vulnerabilities and gaps
within the existing framework. This survey would then inform the
conceptualisation of a new anti-corruption body's functions and how they should
be performed. Professor Appleby and Dr Hoole provide a brief overview of the
key Commonwealth integrity agencies.
The paper considers a number of vulnerabilities and gaps in the
current integrity framework. The gaps noted are:
the capacity to scrutinise the conduct of ministers and
the limited ability to investigate government agencies through
the convening of hearings—whether in public or in private—outside the law
enforcement context'; and
the lack of coherence across the Commonwealth's integrity
landscape as a whole.
Professor Appleby and Dr Hoole then consider these gaps and
vulnerabilities 'to sketch a possible legislative statement of purpose for a
new federal anti-corruption commission'. The legislative statement provided is:
The object of this Act is to suppress corruption and foster
public confidence in the integrity of the Commonwealth government by empowering
an independent commission with authority to investigate Commonwealth government
activities, including through consideration of public complaints, with the goal
of identifying and reporting instances of serious or systemic corruption.
They argue for a commission with broad oversight, including
oversight of elected officials 'for the purpose of suppressing corruption and
fostering public confidence in the integrity of the Commonwealth government'.
Consideration is also given to 'expanding the availability of strong
investigative and hearing powers to seeing where those are desirable but
currently lacking' and 'introduce a high profile and accessible venue for
citizens and public servants to report corruption concerns, bringing greater
coherence and simplicity to the integrity landscape'.
This discussion paper also considers the model of an
anti-corruption commission, its jurisdiction, and the agencies and individuals
subject to its jurisdiction. Finally, the authors consider how integrity of
purpose would inform the commission's power to hold hearings and require a prohibition
on the commission making findings of guilt or initiating prosecutions.
As noted in chapter 1, a further three discussion papers are
scheduled as part of this project. These papers are titled:
Strategic approaches to corruption prevention;
Measuring anti-corruption effectiveness; and
Australia's integrity system: more than just a sum of its
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