- Range of new measures to strengthen Victoria’s integrity regime
- Delivers on Government’s commitment to respond to integrity body suggestions
- Builds on Coalition’s establishment of Victoria’s first anti-corruption commission
The Victorian Coalition Government will introduce legislation into Parliament this week to further strengthen Victoria’s integrity regime.
Premier Denis Napthine said the changes deliver on the Coalition Government’s commitment to consider and respond to a range of suggestions put forward by IBAC and other integrity bodies arising from their experience of the initial operation of the Coalition’s integrity reforms.
Key changes include:
- clarifying the threshold test for IBAC to undertake investigations;
- empowering IBAC to undertake preliminary investigations before determining whether to dismiss, investigate or refer a complaint or notification;
- introducing a uniform requirement for public sector bodies to notify IBAC of any matters that they suspect on reasonable grounds involve corrupt conduct;
- including misconduct in public office as one of the common law offences that can constitute corrupt conduct;
- streamlining provisions for investigation of complaints by the Ombudsman, including greater power for the Ombudsman to discontinue investigations where the Ombudsman considers further investigation is not warranted; and
- requiring IBAC and the Ombudsman to provide information to a Parliamentary Committee where Parliament has asked the Committee to investigate a possible breach of privilege or contempt of Parliament arising from an IBAC or Ombudsman’s report.
Under the new threshold test, IBAC will be able to investigate conduct whenever IBAC is satisfied that the conduct, if proven, would constitute serious corrupt conduct and IBAC suspects on reasonable grounds that the conduct is in fact occurring or has occurred.
“The Coalition Government established for the first time in Victoria an independent, broad-based anti-corruption commission with power to investigate serious corruption in the Victorian public sector wherever it may occur. This is in stark contrast to the former Labor government’s failure to do so in their eleven years in office,” Dr Napthine said.
Attorney-General, Robert Clark said IBAC has already demonstrated its valuable role in educating about, preventing and investigating possible corruption.
“This legislation builds on what IBAC has described as the solid initial framework for Victoria’s new integrity regime and makes a range of improvements based on experience and feedback from the operation of the new regime,” Mr Clark said.