Published on 16 November 2021
The Independent Commission Against Corruption’s report entitled, ‘An examination of changes effected by recent amendments to the Independent Commission Against Corruption Act 2012’ was tabled in Parliament today.
Authored by the Commissioner, the Hon. Ann Vanstone QC, the report details the most significant consequences of the enactment of the Independent Commissioner Against Corruption (CPIPC Recommendations) Amendment Act 2021 (SA) in terms of the scheme designed to ensure the integrity of public administration in South Australia.
Commissioner Vanstone observes, “the changes do little to improve the capacity of the public integrity scheme to identify, investigate, prevent or minimise corruption in public administration. On the contrary, the changes create an increased risk of corruption remaining hidden and undermine the ability of public administration to deal with it.”
It is argued that the changes include:
- A significant reduction in matters the Commission can investigate, including reducing the ability to investigate “dishonesty offences committed by public officers even if the offending is widespread or public resources substantially defrauded”.
- Establishing an entitlement in those public officers subject to a Commission investigation who are convicted for indictable offences not falling within the new and narrower definition of corruption to reimbursement of legal expenses incurred.
- Removing the Commission’s ability to communicate with the public when corruption has been found, which will “impede the Commission’s and the public sector’s ability to prevent corruption, creating a real risk that it will become more prevalent”.
Commissioner Vanstone considers “the increased risks of corruption created by the amending Act are of such significance that the public interest requires me to bring them to the attention of the community and the Parliament.”
An examination of changes effected by recent amendments to the Independent Commission Against Corruption Act 2012 is published on the ICAC website: https://www.icac.sa.gov.au/publications/published-reports
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