As the SA Government guts its anti-corruption commission, and a NSW Premier falls, what are the lessons for integrity bodies in Australia?
These questions will be explored at the second of a new Flinders University ‘Crime in the City’ lecture series, by a panel including the former Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) commissioner the Hon Bruce Lander QC at public lecture on Tuesday (26 October, 4.30pm-6.30pm, at 182 Victoria Square, Adelaide.)
“The role of anti-corruption commissions across Australia is forefront in the news,” says Professor Andrew Goldsmith, director of the Centre for Crime Policy and Research at Flinders University which is hosting the debate with Transparency International Australia.
“The public needs to be reassured that the agencies we set up to uphold public integrity have the right focus and capacity to undertake their role competently and impartially. The current picture in Australia is not entirely reassuring,” Professor Goldsmith says.
While former NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian resigned in order to front the NSW ICAC, Labor MP Luke Donnellan has resigned ahead of the inquiry by the Victorian Independent Broad-Based Anti-Corruption Commission (IBAC). The NSW ICAC is celebrated for exposing corruption across politics, including the now-convicted former Labor ministers Eddie Obeid and Ian Macdonald.
At a federal level, the Independent Senator Heather Haines is increasing pressure on the government with her Australian Federal Integrity Commission Bill.
“While there’s been a profusion of anti-corruption agencies set up in the states and territories in the past 30 years, we have nothing yet at the federal level despite years of discussion and proposals,” Professor Goldsmith says.
“And at the state level, we are seeing some significant changes in jurisdiction and powers of our integrity agencies, some of which suggest a rolling back of capacity.
“The recent changes to the SA ICAC system have drawn considerable criticism, not least of which being is the haste with which the changes passed through Parliament.
“Members of the public are entitled to understand why this has happened, and whether or not the revised arrangements are fit for purpose,” he says.
Recent changes to the SA ICAC system have drawn considerable criticism, “not least of which being is the haste with which the changes passed through Parliament”, he says.
Chaired by SA Commissioner for Public Sector Employment Ms Erma Ranieri, other panellists for the Flinders University University ‘Crime in the City’ lecture will be Griffith University Professor A J Brown, also a member of Transparency International Australia, and SA Ombudsman Mr Wayne Lines.
The Flinders University Centre for Crime Policy and Research has launched the Crime in the City lecture series to bring experts and members of the public together to examine issues of current policy concern in the fields of crime, security and public safety.
The ‘Tackling Corruption and the Future of Public Integrity Institutions’ lecture is open to the public – Level 2, Flinders University building, 182 Victoria Square, Adelaide – or online via livestream. Please register via Eventbrite.