Skip to content Skip to main navigation

Opinion

Canberra’s Leading
Relationship Lawyers

Royal Commission or ICAC

By John Hargreaves 25 April 2016 44

ICAC

I was thinking about the Royal Commission into the construction unions recently and the current call for a Royal Commission into the banks and a couple of things struck me as relevant.

Firstly, the Heydon Commission was a political animal designed to go after a particular union. Fess up, guys, you know that’s the truth. Sure some issues were exposed and rightly so. But some poor quality assertions have been made, some botched investigations have been made and all in all, it has been a monumental waste of money. The same investigations could have been made by the Crime Commission or a joint activity between the AFP and State and Territory Police Forces who already have the powers to charge for offences.

Secondly, the call for a Royal Commission into the banks is too narrow. Sure banks are colluding and gouging. Sure banks have had their share of scandals recently. But insurance companies are in the frame also. So are health funds. Where is the Royal Commission into those businesses?

ASIC is portrayed by the conservatives as having enough power to prosecute, to require witnesses to incriminate themselves, to delve deeply into the entrails of business to address corruption and malpractice. Well, if it has the powers, why haven’t they been used to date? The elimination of $120 million may have had a bit to do with that and now Mr Morrison is going to give it back to them!

ASIC has had the powers since forever and before the removal of the money so why, again, haven’t they moved on corrupt business practices? Where is ASIC in the Palmer nickel mine affair? MIA.

Some people have called for a federal ICAC. There may be some merit in this as it would broaden the scope of attack on corruption across all sectors, business, governance and unions. Let’s see how this plays out.

For an ACT perspective, the suggestion of having an ICAC isn’t new. I refer readers to a report from the ACT Legislative Assembly Standing Committee on Justice and Community Safety into a proposed bill for a Commission for Integrity in Government, moved by the late Trevor Kaine in 1999.

That Committee, of which I was Deputy Chair, looked into the bill and conducted an inquiry which included discussions with a range of agencies with this type of policing powers. These included the Ombudsman, the Auditor-General, the NSW ICAC and the NSW Parliamentary Committee on ICAC.

The inquiry was essentially about integrity in governance in the ACT, but it had its genesis in a suggestion from Mr Kaine that we have an ICAC here. I can recall discussing the matter with him and we agreed that our jurisdiction was too small for such an agency, that corruption was not rife here, present but not rife. Nonetheless he wanted the inquiry into government practices to ensure that we had protection against corruption over government contracts. And so the inquiry was limited to this aspect.

We received advice that an ICAC was unnecessary, the powers of the Auditor-General and Ombudsman should be strengthened and the police should be more pro-active. Essentially, that the protections were there but we were not using them effectively enough.

I’m not sure that we do have the protections against corruption in business so maybe a Royal Commission into the business sector generally, like the one into the unions, across the country would be a good idea. Or maybe a federal ICAC. But having a federal ICAC is fraught with legislative dangers. The Constitution is one of them. The section on free trade between the states often limits jurisdiction for federal intervention.

More conjugation is needed perhaps.

What’s Your opinion?


Please login to post your comments, or connect with
44 Responses to
Royal Commission or ICAC
Filter
Showing only Website comments
Order
Newest to Oldest
Oldest to Newst
Matt Watts 10:59 pm 06 May 16

Tenpoints said :

dungfungus said :

dungfungus said :

dungfungus said :

dungfungus said :

Yeah… Banning pubs from having pokies while clubs are allowed to have them. Banning the casino from having pokies. The Labor Club holding onto the old workers club site until the planning classification of the land between Civic and the ANU had changed, allowing the Labor Club to receive a higher price when they decided to sell. The currently proposed development behind the Belconnen Labor Club. Nothing to see here.

Typical Liberal response. How about you tell the readers of your political affiliation and they can judge whether you have an individual opinion or just pushing the party line. I reckon the latter.

You ignore the rest of the club industry because it suits you to bash the Labor Clubs to injure the Labor Party. Honesty is usually a good way to go.

I hate the Libs, I’m a progressive. I also hate Labor’s entanglement with the pokies.

No one hates like a leftie.

What a load of tosh! Both sides can be ludicrously over the top, but the right is the one that nearly always ultimately turns to violence, because it needs to as a minority trying to control the majority.

My experience as Election Booth Captain was everybody could talk to everyone else, even joke except for the two Liberals, who were afraid that someone might make them do something unnatural, like actually think for once instead of spout sound bites.

…like “No one hates like a leftie”. 😀

Haha. You gotta be kidding, right? On this site, you are the last one I would trust for character references 🙂

dungfungus 6:22 pm 04 May 16

TracyS said :

Evil_Kitten said :

Disagree. It is all about being in the tent, being on the playing field and being involved. It is also about putting yourself up for criticism or praise. It is all about not being afraid to do the things you must do.

I agree that it is a brave move to put yourself in the public eye like this.
We have had some notably brave people who have made a big difference
– Bob Brown stands out as one of the bext hgere
– Pauline Hanson was extremely disruptive to the corrupt Lib/Lab political duopoly.
– Penny Wong is doing a great job, attempting to inject some actual intelligence into Australian politics.
– Nick Xenophon and Tony Windsor have similarly done a great job, each in their own way, at trying to bring the government of this country into line with what this country actually needs and wants.

Evil_Kitten said :

The sad part of politics today in the ACT, is that the Assembly is pilloried instead of respected and successful people are reluctant to bring their talents into that arena.

There would be a couple of reasons for this, but they all flow from the fact that Canberrans do not need party-based shenanigans, party-favourite parachutees, and the pointless and expensive and completely unnecessary Westminster-system setup for the Assembly, which was setup that way in order to benefit the politically-corrupt Lib/Lab duopoly.

If we had 18 Tony Windsors and a ban on “political staffers” and other such waste, we’d have a local government capable of concentrating on delivering services without the party-based theatre we currently have.

Yes, Tony Windsor has done very well (for Tony Windsor).

HenryBG 11:05 am 04 May 16

Evil_Kitten said :

Disagree. It is all about being in the tent, being on the playing field and being involved. It is also about putting yourself up for criticism or praise. It is all about not being afraid to do the things you must do.

I agree that it is a brave move to put yourself in the public eye like this.
We have had some notably brave people who have made a big difference
– Bob Brown stands out as one of the bext hgere
– Pauline Hanson was extremely disruptive to the corrupt Lib/Lab political duopoly.
– Penny Wong is doing a great job, attempting to inject some actual intelligence into Australian politics.
– Nick Xenophon and Tony Windsor have similarly done a great job, each in their own way, at trying to bring the government of this country into line with what this country actually needs and wants.

Evil_Kitten said :

The sad part of politics today in the ACT, is that the Assembly is pilloried instead of respected and successful people are reluctant to bring their talents into that arena.

There would be a couple of reasons for this, but they all flow from the fact that Canberrans do not need party-based shenanigans, party-favourite parachutees, and the pointless and expensive and completely unnecessary Westminster-system setup for the Assembly, which was setup that way in order to benefit the politically-corrupt Lib/Lab duopoly.

If we had 18 Tony Windsors and a ban on “political staffers” and other such waste, we’d have a local government capable of concentrating on delivering services without the party-based theatre we currently have.

John Hargreaves 10:48 am 04 May 16

buzz819 said :

dungfungus said :

Just for the record, I was for 22 years a Right wing hard man, than I left the faction and became a sweetheart…

I like how people say this sort of thing as if it enhanced their credibility.

What it really means is that at least one of your political outlooks was/is poorly thought-out.
(At least one, that is…)

Disagree. It is all about being in the tent, being on the playing field and being involved. It is also about putting yourself up for criticism or praise. It is all about not being afraid to do the things you must do.

The sad part of politics today in the ACT, is that the Assembly is pilloried instead of respected and successful people are reluctant to bring their talents into that arena.

For the record, I was at the end of a public service career of nearly 30 years and brought some experience in public sector management into that place. Stanhope brought law expertise and Quinlan brought financial expertise.

Across the Chamber now and you will see Steve Doszpot bring a wealth of experience in media and community (mainly sport) expertise, Hanson has Army experience of some years. Dat’s all folks!

Related Articles

CBR Tweets

Sign up to our newsletter

Top
Copyright © 2018 Riot ACT Holdings Pty Ltd. All rights reserved.
the-riotact.com | aboutregional.com.au | b2bmagazine.com.au | thisiscanberra.com

Search across the site