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Stronger IBAC legislation welcomed by LIV

Stronger IBAC legislation welcomed by LIV

By Kerry O'Shea

Advocacy Criminal Procedure Duties Legislation Powers 

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The Law Institute of Victoria welcomes the Integrity and Accountability Legislation Amendment (A Stronger System) Bill 2015. The amendments included in the Bill will strengthen the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission’s (‘IBAC’) ability to investigate and report on corrupt conduct. The LIV calls on the Government to provide adequate resources to IBAC to enable it to perform its important role in investigating corrupt conduct and police misconduct.   

The LIV has long called for IBAC’s powers to investigate corrupt conduct to be broadened and clarified, including in its recent Position Paper on IBAC.

The Bill contains a number of proposed amendments that will enhance IBAC’s ability to investigate corrupt conduct by removing or lowering barriers for undertaking investigations, including:

  1. Removing the requirement that IBAC investigate only 'serious' corrupt conduct
  2. Broadening IBAC's ability to investigate conduct involving fraud on a public official or conspiracy to defraud a public official
  3. Lowering the threshold from ‘reasonably satisfied’ to ‘suspects on reasonable grounds’ that corrupt conduct exists before commencing an investigation
  4. Clarifying that IBAC may assume the required state of mind can be proven 
  5. Extending the objects of the Act to include identifying, investigating and exposing corrupt conduct that is ‘serious or systemic

The LIV also supports the Bill’s proposed amendments to the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission Act 2011 (Vic) (‘IBAC Act’) to expressly permit IBAC to undertake preliminary investigations. This power will assist IBAC to determine the most appropriate response to a complaint - including investigation by IBAC, referral to another body or dismissing the complaint.

The Bill extends the offences that IBAC can investigate to include the common law offence of misconduct in public office. The LIV maintains its position that all indictable common law criminal offences should be capable of being investigated by IBAC to ensure that all serious corrupt criminal activity can be investigated by IBAC.  The LIV will continue to advocate for this change in future amendments to the IBAC Act. 

The LIV remains concerned that IBAC continues to refer the majority of complaints about police to Victoria Police for investigation. The LIV calls on the Government to increase IBAC’s resources to ensure that IBAC can fulfil its function of independently investigating complaints of police misconduct. 

The LIV is also concerned that the Bill does not address the anomaly that sees complainants about police conduct lose their right to access document under freedom of information laws if they complain to IBAC rather than to Victoria Police directly.  The LIV will continue to advocate for this reform as part of the Government's reform to the Freedom of Information Act 1982. (see the LIV’s separate submission on this issue for more information).

 

For further information regarding this media release please contact:
Kerry O'Shea, General Manager, Public Affairs & Legal Policy

T: 03 9607 9373
E: media@liv.asn.au
 


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