Sharpening watchdogs teeth

Centre for Public Integrity

The Victorian Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission (IBAC) plays an invaluable role in protecting public integrity in Victoria by identifying, exposing and investigating allegations of corrupt conduct. Currently, however, the ability of the IBAC to fulfil its mandated functions is hampered by undue limitations on both its jurisdiction and the use of its investigative powers. In addition, the current process for appointing Commissioners lacks the requisite robustness for such a critical public appointment. In order to redress these deficiencies, the Centre for Public integrity makes the following recommendations:

1) The jurisdiction of the IBAC be expanded, in order to allow it to investigate matters beyond conduct constituting a ‘relevant offence’;

2) The requirement that the IBAC ‘suspect on reasonable grounds’ that relevant conduct constitute corrupt conduct before it can use its corrupt conduct investigative functions be abolished;

3) The requirement that ‘exceptional circumstances’ exist in order for the IBAC to use public hearings be abolished;

4) The process for appointing Commissioners be strengthened by imposing rules preventing executive dominance on the Victorian Parliament’s joint investigatory committees; and

5) A specific timeframe be imposed within which subjects of adverse findings are required to respond to proposed reports, in order to prevent the protection of procedural fairness being exploited in order to cause delay.

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