Independent Commissioner Against Corruption (CPIPC Recommendations) Amendment Bill

Bills, In Parliament, Speeches

Adjourned debate on second reading.

(Continued from 25 August 2021.)

The Hon. R.I. LUCAS (Treasurer) (16:50): Almost five years ago to the day—in fact, it was 20 September 2016—I put on the public record in this chamber my very strong views in relation to the need for reform of the ICAC. On that particular occasion, almost five years ago to the day, I said as follows:

As someone who was involved in the initial debates in our party room (I was not the prime mover but was engaged and involved in the initial debates), I was a very strong supporter for an ICAC in South Australia. As a non-lawyer I entered the debates, not from a legal viewpoint but from a public governance, integrity, transparency and accountability viewpoint, and it seemed every other jurisdiction in the nation had one. There are examples of corruption being rooted out in most of those other jurisdictions. Why should we believe South Australia would be any different? However, I have to say from my perspective that the title of this body, Independent Commissioner Against Corruption, was indeed what its focus should have been, should be and hopefully in the future will be. That is, its focus should be against corruption.

Hansard records the Hon. Peter Malinauskas interjecting, ‘Hear, hear!’ I then continued:

I am delighted to hear minister Malinauskas strongly endorsing that, and that is that it is not an independent commission against corruption, misconduct and maladministration and other bad things that go on in governance in any jurisdiction. It was specifically entitled the Independent Commissioner Against Corruption.

Further on, I referred to a number of examples in previous contributions in the parliament where I had referred to the focus of the ICAC in areas which I did not believe were what I viewed as corruption.

Without going into the details, I instanced in that particular speech, and in previous speeches, two occasions on issues that I had raised in the Budget and Finance Committee. One related to public moneys being, in my view, wasted on resolving a conflict between two senior executives in the Department of the Premier and Cabinet, and the second one was in relation to a series of complaints from whistleblowers about rorting of allowances and the wastage of public money in the APY lands.

On those two separate occasions, I was invited to the ICAC to answer questions in relation to who had leaked the information to me as a member of parliament. I very respectfully declined to answer the questions, and that was the end of the issue—to be fair to the ICAC, from my viewpoint as well. Nevertheless, I spoke at that time and on previous occasions that it was my view that this was not the work of what I had envisaged an ICAC to be.

I also gave examples of where leaked information had been provided to journalists, and those journalists were hauled before the ICAC and they were required or asked to reveal the source of their particular information. Again, leak inquiries, to me, should not be the purview of a commission against corruption. In that contribution I went on to talk about maladministration, and I said:

That is one example, but a second and more difficult one is the issue of maladministration. To me, as one of the non-lawyers in the chamber, maladministration is not corruption. Maladministration might be financial incompetence or it might be negligence. It might be worthy of being sacked or demoted from cabinet, or the government might be thrown out. There is a whole variety of consequences as a result of being financially incompetent, negligent and a range of other descriptors which you can use in terms of poor performance by a minister or by a government. If it reaches into corruption then, in my personal view, clearly it should be the purview of an independent commission against corruption.

The view I put on that occasion and the view that I still retain is that issues in relation to financial incompetence and negligence or poor performance are not appropriately issues that need to be addressed by a commission against corruption with all the extraordinary powers that commission rightfully has for the work that it needs to do. In concluding that particular contribution, I indicated as follows:

I conclude my comments on this aspect: I think it is a live issue for both the Labor Party and the Liberal Party over the coming 18 months—

bearing in mind this was in September 2016 and we were leading into a March 2018 election—

to determine whether or not this iteration or this evolution should be the first step towards another step. Frankly, I should not be just saying the Labor and Liberal parties because, clearly, the minor parties are actively engaged in this particular issue as well. Each of us, all of us, should apply our minds over the next 18 months as to whether or not we would support another iteration or another evolution in terms of refining the purpose of an ICAC to the purpose that many of us saw it being, and that was corruption. That is the work it should do.

I conclude my remarks in relation to this particular aspect by saying that I think it would be important, prior to 2018, for each of us, major parties and minor parties, to be clear in our policy pronouncements as we lead into the election to say, ‘Hey, we are open. It might not be that we are specific, but we are open to the next evolution, the next iteration, and a process that we might follow in terms of this ICAC evolving towards a commission truly devoted to rooting out corruption in South Australia as opposed to other aspects.’

The views that I expressed almost five years ago to the day, in relation to what should be the primary purpose of a commission against corruption, remain my strongly held views and remain the views that I have held over the last five years as well.

I do want to add one other issue in relation to the appropriate work of a commission against corruption or not and that is that there has been significant recent debate in relation to codes of conduct. Both the major parties have indicated a willingness to introduce a code of conduct for members of parliament.

The commissioner for the ICAC has made a submission to the parliamentary committee considering this particular issue with a recommended version of a draft code of conduct—that is, public submission—and that code of conduct says in part as follows:

Members must—

(a) make the performance of their public duties their prime responsibility;

(b) exercise reasonable care and diligence in performing their public duties;

(c) submit themselves to the lawful scrutiny appropriate to their office;

(d) behave with respect and courtesy in their relations with all parliamentary staff and public servants with due regard for the imbalance of power in such relationships

(e) treat all persons with respect and have due regard for their opinions, beliefs, rights and responsibilities.

Under the current powers of the ICAC Act, misconduct is defined as a contravention of a code of conduct by a public officer while acting in his or her capacity as a public officer. As this parliament contemplates what is the rightful role of a commission against corruption, it also contemplates, rightly, the appropriate role of a code of conduct.

If a code of conduct was to be approved along the lines recommended by the commission—that is, a member of parliament should treat all persons with respect and have due regard for their opinions, beliefs, rights and responsibilities—we could have any number of complaints being lodged with the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) against any number of members of parliament for not treating members of the public or indeed anybody with, in the member of the public’s view, respect and having due regard for their opinions, beliefs, rights and responsibilities.

We could have any number of complaints lodged with the ICAC, alleging a breach of the code of conduct, that a member of parliament or a minister had not exercised reasonable care and diligence in performing their public duties. One could go through all the subclauses of the recommended code from the commission of conduct for members of parliament and, under the current arrangements, a breach of the code of conduct could be elevated to a complaint to the Independent Commission Against Corruption against a member of parliament.

Certainly, in my very strongly held view, this is one of the reasons why years ago, when there was a debate in the parliament at that particular time about whether there should be a code of conduct or a statement of principles, both major parties—the Labor government and the Liberal opposition—agreed that there would be a statement of principles, and the legislation explicitly provided that the statement of principles did not constitute a code of conduct for the purposes of the ICAC legislation.

If, as we are intending to do, we are going to have a code of conduct, now is the time to be looking seriously at the reform of the ICAC in this particular important regard so that serious allegations about someone breaching a code of conduct should be investigated by an appropriate body but certainly should not be investigated within the ambit of a corruption investigation, elevated in the public arena to a complaint to the ICAC because a member of parliament, in somebody’s view, has not treated somebody with respect and therefore is alleged to have breached their code of conduct.

These are the sorts of provisions that have led many of us to the view that it has been, for many years, and is now time for significant reform of the ICAC legislation. Let the ICAC do what it was intended originally to do and what most of us understood its major work should have been, rather than these sundry other issues that seem to have taken up much of the time of the ICAC.

There have been many other stories highlighting the widespread concerns from some who have been impacted by the operations of the ICAC over recent years. My colleague the Hon. Mr Pangallo in the last 24 hours has again highlighted a number of cases where people have certainly grave concerns about the operations of the ICAC and the impact on them and their loved ones. The tragic case of Debbie Barr, which has been highlighted yesterday and again today in the media, is just one stark example of a number that the Hon. Mr Pangallo has put onto the public record.

As Treasurer of the state, I also know that the taxpayers of South Australia—and obviously there are requirements of confidentiality—have incurred very significant costs as a result of some unsuccessful ICAC investigations. I am not in a position to indicate detail in relation to that, but I can say, as the Treasurer of the state, that the taxpayers are incurring very significant costs in relation to some cases that have proved to be unsuccessful in terms of ICAC’s operations. Putting all that together, there is clearly in my view and clearly in the view of the Hon. Mr Pangallo, whose reform legislation we are debating this afternoon, very, very widespread support for reform of the ICAC.

What I can say, going back to that 2016 debate, which was brought on by the former government and which I described as the first evolution or iteration of reform of the ICAC, is that there had been considerable discussions with the former Labor Attorney-General and senior members of the Labor government with myself and with others about more significant reform, much closer to the reform we are seeing today.

I indicated at that stage on behalf of the Liberal opposition a willingness to support a Labor government if it was prepared to move towards the path that has been moved today by the Hon. Mr Pangallo. I make no criticism of the former Labor government other than to say that for a variety of reasons it was decided not to proceed with that legislation. But at that stage, in the lead-up to the 2016 debate, I indicated on behalf of our party a willingness to support further reform, and that is what led me to make the statements I did in 2016: that I saw this as a first step but not a final step in terms of much-needed reform for the ICAC in South Australia. So I welcome the opportunity that we have today to have a serious debate, all of us, in relation to the bill the Hon. Mr Pangallo has moved.

Having, I guess, indicated what our position was in 2016, I do want to say that on behalf of the government I believe I speak on behalf of every member of the Liberal government in the upper house and the lower house in indicating their support for reform of the ICAC. It would be inaccurate and it would be wrong for some people to report or to claim that the position I am about to put down on behalf of the government today is a position reluctantly arrived at as a result of a small number of members in the party having a particular view. I indicate that this is a view, a unanimous view, that the government members have in both houses in relation to the need for reform of the ICAC at this particular time.

Whilst there is a unanimous view, I think of all, in relation to the need for reform of the ICAC, clearly the devil is in the detail in terms of what the detail of the changes and the reforms might be, and everyone may well have had or may still have differing views as to what the appropriate reforms of ICAC might be.

The government was not prepared to support the original draft of the bill that had been introduced by the Hon. Mr Pangallo, albeit it had many elements that many of us were more than happy to support. As the Hon. Mr Pangallo will outline—and as I will speak to in a moment in terms of some of the major changes—he has now introduced 19 pages of amendments to the bill he introduced some weeks ago into the Legislative Council.

He will outline those in detail when we go through the committee stage of the debate this evening, but what I can say is that having now looked at the 19 pages of amendments the Hon. Mr Pangallo will move this evening, as Leader of the Government in this chamber and as the representative of the Attorney-General and the Premier in this chamber, it is our intention as government members to support the model reform that the Hon. Mr Pangallo is moving with the 19 pages of amendments that he will outline this evening. We believe that if implemented this particular reform will allow the ICAC to do what it was intended to do, what it should do and what it will have the powers to do, and that is to address corruption in South Australia.

In terms of some of the details of the major changes in both the legislation and the amendment, I will now run through the government’s view of the summary of those. I guess the major change is to modify the ICAC’s jurisdiction so that the responsibility for investigating maladministration and misconduct will be transferred to the Ombudsman. That will also mean the capacity to do evaluations of government agencies would also transfer to the Ombudsman.

Importantly, there is a saving provision in there. There is a 12-month transition arrangement so if there have been any current complaints lodged or investigations lodged before the start date—which is in August for this particular provision with the ICAC—the ICAC will be able to continue with those current complaints or current investigations which are on foot, if I can put it that way. The ICAC will have a 12-month period to complete those particular inquiries or investigations.

Other changes that are going to be included, which highlight that, are a modification of the ICAC’s jurisdiction in relation to corruption to ensure that ICAC is focused on the true offences of corruption set out in part 7, division 4 of the Criminal Law Consolidation Act, again subject to the transition arrangements that allow for existing complaints or investigations to be resolved. These offences include bribery or corruption of public officers, threats or reprisals against public officers, abuse of public office, and demanding or requiring benefit on the basis of public office.

The changes will also ensure that the ICAC can continue to refer other matters to the police or the Ombudsman as appropriate and after any change to the jurisdiction is effected. It also modifies the elements for a finding of misconduct to require that any such misconduct be both intentional and serious. It establishes an inspector with wide powers to review ICAC’s activities and to make recommendations in relation to ex gratia payments for harm caused by ICAC or in relation to certain legal fees incurred including in the case of failed prosecutions.

It establishes a separate Office for Public Integrity with its own director with responsibilities to act as a clearing house for complaints concerning public officers. It codifies Legal Bulletin 5 to require:

1. In the case of a corruption investigation, that a conviction be recorded before the policy of reimbursing legal costs for a failed prosecution is voided. Presently, the bulletin only requires a material adverse finding or material dereliction of duty.

2. In the case of a misconduct or maladministration investigation, that a material adverse finding is made before the policy is voided.

3. That in the case of both corruption investigations and investigations into misconduct or maladministration, progress payments for legal costs be made by the state to a public officer where costs are likely to exceed $100,000 as certified by the Crown Solicitor.

These are significant changes in relation to reimbursement of legal costs. It is a challenge for our justice system generally, I guess, but particularly in relation to the use of extraordinary powers by the ICAC against an individual or individuals. It is a very costly exercise for someone to defend himself or herself. The package of amendments provides readier access to reimbursement of reasonable legal costs in relation to these particular issues.

The bill and amendments strengthen protections against frivolous, vexatious or improper complaints or complaints made in bad faith. It requires ICAC to inform public officers when they decide to take no action against them. It enhances prohibitions on the making of any public statements concerning ICAC matters except in the circumstances that the inspector can make public statements where necessary, including to alleviate prejudice to a person’s reputation.

The bill and amendments provide better protection for members of parliament who take in and consider agency information, including information relating to ICAC, provided always that those MPs use the information in the course of discharging their parliamentary functions. These protections are proposed to be achieved by modifying the definition of ‘abuse of public office’ in section 251 of the Criminal Law Consolidation Act, and by providing that ICAC cannot exercise its powers over matters to which parliamentary privilege applies. Arguably, in the government’s view, this reflects the common law as it stands in relation to privilege.

In addition, and as earlier mentioned, it establishes transitional arrangements under which public officers who are currently under investigation continue to be investigated using ICAC’s existing jurisdiction, provided those investigations are resolved within 12 months, after which the new jurisdictional arrangements come into force. It establishes transition arrangements to preserve evidence already gathered by ICAC. It gives effect to certain other necessary transitional arrangements.

As the Hon. Mr Pangallo will outline in the committee stage I am sure, there are many other amendments in the 19 pages of amendments. Those I have mentioned are really the more significant amendments. We will have the opportunity, if required, to further expand on some of those amendments and their impact during the committee stage of the debate.

In concluding my indication of support from government members for this package of reform measures, it is important to re-emphasise that a crime today would remain a crime after this bill and amendments pass. What is contemplated by this act is a change to the jurisdiction of ICAC in particular, and a concentration of the ICAC on what many of us believe should be its true role, and that is identifying and rooting out corruption in South Australia.

All of these other issues, such as breaches of codes of conduct and maladministration or leak inquiries, because someone has leaked something, should be the responsibility of other bodies in South Australia, and we have many of them. In relation to financial performance we have the Auditor-General, we have the Ombudsman, we have the Office for Public Integrity, and we have the police. There are any number of other opportunities for calling to account ministers, members of parliament and public servants as would be required.

The government members look forward to the debate during the committee stage this evening. I congratulate the Hon. Mr Pangallo for all of the hard work that he has undertaken on this particular bill. I want to acknowledge the hard work of two of my colleagues from the House of Assembly, the member for Kavel and the member for Davenport, who have worked assiduously on this issue and who have worked with me as the Leader of the Government in the Legislative Council and responsible for handling the passage or not of the bill. I do want to acknowledge the trailblazing work of the Hon. Mr Pangallo on the issue but also the work that my two lower house colleagues have undertaken.

I also acknowledge that there have been others over the last five or six years who have also been active in this particular space. They have raised issues, they have been actively engaged, in both the major parties but also in some of the minor parties as well. This has been an ongoing debate for members of parliament. The introduction of a private member’s bill from the Hon. Mr Pangallo has given us all the opportunity to address, or not, these particular reform issues. I hope that we address them and certainly on behalf of government members we indicate our support for both the bill and the package of amendments.

The Hon. K.J. MAHER (Leader of the Opposition) (17:18): I will not speak for very long as many of the issues have been canvassed at great length by the Hon. Frank Pangallo in his second reading contribution introducing the bill, and now by the Leader of the Government in this place. I guess it can simply be summed up by saying that it is in the name: Independent Commissioner Against Corruption. It is intended to investigate corruption and it should do what it says it does.

We are persuaded by contributions, not just today but in the past, from the Ombudsman, who has assured committees, and consequently the parliament, that the Ombudsman not only has the ability but could take on the jurisdiction of maladministration and misconduct. He not only has the ability to do so but sees that as a desirable outcome, and that is persuasive for the opposition.

In relation to a number of the issues that have been raised about ICAC, it is true that ICAC has extraordinary powers. That is for very good reason. It has work to do that requires extraordinary powers, but with the exercise of extraordinary powers comes a need for extraordinary oversight and accountability.

We support, firstly, the ICAC investigating corruption, as this bill proposes when you take into account the amendments that have been filed already, and the other roles that have historically, since ICAC has been around, since 2012, the maladministration and misconduct, being the providence of another integrity agency which, as I have said, as the Ombudsman has expressed, is capably and appropriately dealt with by the Ombudsman.

Some of the other issues that relate to the bill and the oversight of the extraordinary powers of ICAC include checks and balances, effectively at the start and the end of the process that this bill proposes, that is an independent Office for Public Integrity whose responsibility will be to assess complaints that are made and essentially triage those complaints as to where the more appropriate place is that they rest, whether it is in fact corruption, whether it is in fact maladministration or misconduct, and appropriately refer those to the integrity agencies which should look at those.

At the back end, the final part of it is the reviewer being restyled as an inspector and having significant powers to look at the operations of ICAC. As I said, it is the opposition’s view that with extraordinary powers comes a need for greater levels of oversight and accountability, so we support those changes to the scheme.

I can indicate that after significant discussion the opposition will be, as the Leader of the Government has outlined, supporting the package that we have before us, that is, the bill that has been brought to this place by the Hon. Frank Pangallo and the amendments as they have been filed. I think there are now two sets of amendments, a first set and a reasonably significant second set.

It is unusual that we would be considering amendments that have been filed only today, but I know the Hon. Frank Pangallo has worked very hard with members of the government, members of the opposition and members of the crossbench in the development of those amendments. It is not one of those instances where we quite rightly often rail against considering amendments on the day. These are not those types of amendments. These are ones that have had due consideration, I think, by all members of this chamber in arriving at the shape and form that the amendments now take

I, too, wish to join the Leader of the Government in congratulating and paying tribute to the Hon. Frank Pangallo. I cannot remember the description I think one David Bevan used on radio to describe Frank, but he is not to be underestimated in terms of his tenacity in prosecuting and his ability to put forward an argument and shape legislation as we have before us.

It does give comfort that the government has, with the considerable resources that come with government and the advice, particularly legal advice, the government has access to, turned their minds to the merits of the package we see before us and has decided that the bill, with the two sets of amendments, is worthy of support.

Particularly, comfort can be given, I think, that the Attorney-General, the Hon. Vickie Chapman, the member for Bragg, the first law officer of the state, has obviously turned her mind to this bill and these amendments and has decided that they ought to be supported. There is probably no-one better placed in the state than the Attorney-General to come to the conclusion that these reforms should be supported as part of the government. Section 49 of the Independent Commissioner Against Corruption Act 2012 provides:

The Commissioner must keep the Attorney-General informed of the general conduct of the functions of the Commissioner and the Office and, if the Attorney-General so requests, provide information to the Attorney-General relevant to the performance of the functions of the Commissioner or the Office…

There is no-one better placed in this parliament than the Attorney-General to make those decisions about this sort of reform, and it should provide some comfort that the Attorney has turned her mind to it as the first law officer of the state, with the extra information the Attorney has available to her by virtue of section 49 of the act, and decided that these ought to be supported. With those words, I will indicate that the opposition intends to support the bill as it is described, with the two sets of amendments we have filed before us.

The Hon. T.A. FRANKS (17:25): I rise on behalf of the Greens to speak in support of this debate tonight on the Independent Commissioner Against Corruption (CPIPC Recommendations) Amendment Bill. This is a bill brought to us by the Hon. Frank Pangallo, but its formation was in that CPIP Committee, a Labor, SA-Best and Liberal-membered committee.

The first rule of ICAC in this state is that you do not talk about ICAC, so I stand with some trepidation to talk about ICAC. I make some light of that, but that is one of the things I find most disturbing about ICAC. I will move to the detail of the bill later, but I am going to start with why we should be talking about ICAC tonight. I sit on a select committee of this council inquiring into the adverse harms of ICAC. I think I have heard far more about ICAC in the last few months, through the stewardship of the committee set up by the Hon. Frank Pangallo, than I would like to know in an entire lifetime.

Some people do not have a lifetime to hear more about ICAC. One of those people is Mrs Deborah Barr, her late husband being Chief Superintendant Douglas Barr. He is no longer with us. Mrs Barr wrote to many members of this place, and I would like to share those words with the council and with the people of South Australia. I know there was a story in the media in previous hours, but I think the words should also be recorded here for this debate to inform why we believe reform should be debated and has merit to be debated. Mrs Barr writes:

My late husband Doug was a SAPOL officer for 43 years. He was one of our state’s most distinguished officers. His contributions to our community were many, and this was recognised in the 2016 Australia Day Awards, when he received the Australian Police Medal. In 2017 Doug become entangled in an ICAC investigation centred on one of his staff. This investigation stretched on for over three years. At every stage ICAC’s conduct was appalling. It was not a corruption matter, as ICAC have since admitted, but Doug and our family were treated as if we were master criminals.

Doug had to go to work every day with the rumours that he was corrupt, rumours he was not even allowed to speak to, forced into silence by the ICAC Act. This was absolutely devastating. I watched it eating away at him every day. But this is the problem with ICAC—the process is the punishment, whether you are guilty or not. And at every stage all we saw from ICAC was delay after delay. There was no interest in resolving this investigation quickly. Every time frame ICAC communicated was later ignored. We were kept in limbo for years.

In October 2019 Doug was waiting for ICAC to release their investigation’s draft report. This would finally let him know after three years what ICAC were accusing him of.

I repeat that:

This would finally let him know after three years what ICAC were accusing him of. The ICAC Commissioner told Doug he would receive this report in two or three weeks. This did not happen.

We waited and waited, but nothing came from ICAC. Every week of this delay was unbearable. Doug lived every day not knowing if he was going to keep his job. Wondering if he was going to be publicly accused of corruption. It didn’t matter that we knew he was innocent—we’d seen for three years now exactly how damaging the rumours could be.

After 13 weeks of delay, we had still heard nothing from ICAC. The stress had become unbearable. Doug had become despondent waiting. He was inconsolable.

Doug took his life over this investigation. He hung himself in our family home.

Some months later, ICAC finally released to our family the report Doug had died waiting for. It made clear Doug was not accused of corruption. This document was dated—apparently, it had been ready for release eight days before Doug took his life. This was devastating—if ICAC had sent it when it was ready, my husband would still be alive. ICAC have made no apology for this.

Our experience with ICAC was three years of delays investigating a matter that did not even constitute corruption. ICAC’s conduct was inefficient, ineffective, and ultimately proved fatal to my husband and devastating to our family.

If ICAC was held to any kind of a standard at all, this would not have happened. This should never happen again. We need to fix ICAC before another family goes through what we have. I believe this bill makes important steps towards that.

Having sat on that committee chaired by the Hon. Frank Pangallo, I know, extraordinarily, that this is not a sole case; this is not an aberration. I have heard far too many stories in that committee that give me pause to reflect and the political courage to say that we need to reform ICAC, that ICAC should focus on corruption.

I have long also been quite critical of the secrecy of ICAC in protecting those who do the wrong thing. In fact, its interaction with the Police Complaints and Discipline Act has led to reporters being denied the ability to report when a police officer is found of misconduct, because the ICAC Act and its secrecy provisions are cited, protecting those who have done the wrong thing.

It is a perverse outcome that led me to have some quite heated words and, indeed, feature prominently in the Police Association magazine a few years ago. But then when I sat down with Mark Carroll of the Police Association of South Australia, we came to a meeting of the minds. He had not realised the level to which in fact that behaviour was being shielded from media reportage and transparency. I am quite cognisant also that the Police Association of South Australia are very strong backers of this reform we debate tonight.

Mark Carroll has presented to the upper house committee in recent times and reflected upon his previous evidence that formed the committee’s report that forms the parts of this bill that we debate, which the Hon. Frank Pangallo has brought to this council. But I just want to reflect on those words. I understand that we have reported, and it is not out of order that I talk about a current select committee underway. We have done an interim report to ensure that, rather than the first rule of ICAC being you cannot talk about ICAC, tonight we do talk about ICAC. The words of Mark Carroll in recent weeks, reflecting those words of some years ago, were:

PASA firmly believes there is an urgent need for root and branch review of the ICAC Act. In particular, we believe that the power and independence of the reviewer should be strengthened. We believe that more resources need to be allocated to the office of the reviewer. Models in New South Wales and Western Australia, where there is a robust relationship between reviewer and the commission, would serve as a good starting point.

On that, Mark Carroll and I do agree.

I think it is going to be a difficult discussion tonight. I do reflect that the bill that may well pass this place, because I think there is some support for having this very difficult conversation, will not be that bill that Frank Pangallo brought to this place; it will be something that is slightly different. Again, I also acknowledge the work of the member for Kavel and the member for Davenport in this conversation and others who have been involved in the various standing and select committees investigating the impact of the workings of the current ICAC Act.

It would be a misnomer to say that the ICAC Act is perfect. I have not heard anyone attempt to defend that. Tonight, I do hope that we go some way to making it less far from perfect than it currently is. The changes that we will be debating tonight I believe are positive ones. They will seek to modify ICAC’s jurisdiction so that responsibility for investigating maladministration and misconduct is transferred to the Ombudsman. Indeed, there will be a transition period for that.

We will seek to effect other changes, including modifying ICAC’s jurisdiction in relation to corruption to ensure that ICAC is focused on true offences of corruption, they being offences including bribery and corruption of public officers, threats or reprisals against public officers, abuse of public office, demanding or requiring benefit on the basis of public office, and ensuring that the ICAC can refer other matters to the police or the Ombudsman as appropriate after this change in their jurisdiction is effected.

We will seek to modify the elements for a finding of misconduct to require that any such misconduct be both intentional and serious, as well as establishing an inspector with wide powers to review ICAC’s activities and to make recommendations in relation to ex-gratia payments for harm caused by ICAC or in relation to certain legal fees incurred, including in the case of failed prosecutions.

It will establish a separate office of public integrity with responsibility to act as a clearing house for complaints concerning public officers and codify the Legal Bulletin 5 to require that in the case of a corruption investigation a conviction be recorded before the policy of reimbursing legal costs for a failed prosecution is voided—presently, the bulletin only requiring an adverse finding.

In the case of misconduct or maladministration investigation, we will seek to require that an adverse finding is made before the policy is voided and that in the case of both corruption investigations and investigations into misconduct or maladministration, progress payments for legal costs be made by the state to a public officer where costs are likely to exceed $100,000 as certified by the Crown Solicitor.

It will strengthen protections against frivolous, vexatious or improper complaints or complaints made in bad faith. One of the sad aspects of my role has been to see the ICAC used to silence people, the ICAC used to bully people, and the ICAC used to ruin people’s careers and reputations. We should not be, as a parliament, standing by while that takes place. These changes also require ICAC to inform public officers when they decide to take no action against them. I cannot see how anyone could argue against these changes.

It will also seek to enhance prohibitions on the making of any public statements concerning ICAC matters, save that the inspector can make public statements where necessary, including to alleviate prejudice to a person’s reputation. It will also serve to better protect members of parliament who take in and consider agency information. That is where we, as members of parliament, are doing our jobs.

It will not see those people who come to us, it will not see whistleblowers, fear being criminalised. As earlier mentioned, the transitional arrangements under which public officers who are currently under investigation will continue to be investigated using the current jurisdictions provided those investigations are resolved within 12 months and indeed are already underway.

I commend the Hon. Frank Pangallo for his bravery in bringing this here tonight. The Greens have long held for a federal ICAC and for a state ICAC. I remember the tireless and fearless advocacy of the former member for Heysen, Isobel Redmond, then leader of the Liberal Party, in advocating for an ICAC, as did the Greens.

What we want, though, is an ICAC that does address corruption, an ICAC that does not cause the harms that it currently does and an ICAC that keeps its eye on the job at hand of corruption. One of the principles that the Greens will bring to this debate will be that this is not any sort of protection racket for MPs who have done the wrong thing. We will not be providing any protection for those who are already before the ICAC, in which cases are already underway or investigations are already occurring. That is not what we are here to do.

We are cognisant that a crime today under our various statutes will be a crime tomorrow or whenever this bill not just passes, if it does, but receives assent. We are also very cognisant of how this has impacted on our Public Service and the secrecy provisions, which were very well-meaning and, indeed, framed to protect people, have unfortunately in practice often served to harm people far too often. We do have very real concerns that the parliament with regard to the operation of ICAC sees some really extraordinary powers used to investigate what are in many cases ordinary crimes.

We in the Greens have long held for our civil liberties and, indeed, for rule of law and appropriate natural justice to be respected and do not wish to see the ICAC have some of the adverse outcomes that have occurred in previous years continue to occur. We think that that inspector role will go a very long way to providing a watcher that ‘watches our watcher’ and that check and balance that South Australia and South Australians, I think, will welcome.

I note also that this bill does address some of the quite, I think, unexpected at the time confusion that arose around whether it was a commission or a commissioner. Indeed, no personalities should have such a large input into the way that we address corruption in this state and I do think that we are rightfully restoring the balance on that this evening. We look forward to the committee stage and we welcome this debate tonight.

The Hon. J.A. DARLEY (17:42): I rise to speak briefly on the ICAC bill. Issues have arisen in cases that ICAC has handled resulting in this bill and amendments. I am concerned about discussion that has arisen, including from the commissioner, about jurisdictional diminution of ICAC and its powers and I have concerns with this. I thank the Hon. Frank Pangallo for bringing forth this bill and the amendments, which I understand will be addressing these matters. I will be following the explanation of the bill and the amendments and I look forward to a successful outcome of the debate tonight.

The Hon. F. PANGALLO (17:42): I would like to thank all the members in this chamber who believed in this bill and its intent to make our integrity bodies more effective by splitting responsibilities for investigating wrongdoing in the public sector between the ICAC and the Ombudsman, making it more efficient by not wasting millions of taxpayers’ dollars on wild goose chases in which evidence gets mangled, manufactured, or is withheld and where cases fall over at the last hurdle, causing further financial and mental distress for the defendants, and making them more accountable with a new independent office of an inspector who will have wide scope of oversight over all the integrity agencies reporting directly to parliament and, importantly, with the ability to make recommendations on restoring reputational damage and compensation. There are protections for whistleblowers going to members of parliament with concerns about operations of integrity agencies, protections against frivolous and vexatious complaints or those made in bad faith and/or spite or seeking to victimise individuals.

This is a far better bill than the original one. Reform has been acknowledged as a long time coming from the legal fraternity and, as we have heard tonight, from my own parliamentary colleagues. To quote eminent QC David Edwardson, the feeling among his colleagues is universal. That is quite a significant statement. In other words, there has been quite some unease at what parliament created in 2012: a Star Chamber, as many eminent jurists, here and interstate, have called it, where rights and procedural fairness have been the casualties.

There needs to be an integrity agency or agencies like ICAC. Everybody acknowledges this, nobody will argue against that, but it must operate within the laws set down by parliament, not take its extraordinary powers as a tool to potentially abuse those powers. The current ICAC told the Crime and Public Integrity Policy Committee this morning that no court had found ICAC had abused its power—well, not quite. A District Court judge found it did, albeit that decision was overturned on appeal. However, that has now gone to the High Court, and I would submit our highest legal forum could be either ICAC’s nadir or its pinnacle.

It would be remiss of me not to address the extraordinary attack today on the workings of this parliament, and members, by the Hon. Ann Vanstone. The Ombudsman, who appeared before our committee earlier, made it quite clear he was apolitical in presenting his views as a statutory officer of the government on the bill and where it concerned his office. Ms Vanstone was anything but. If the current commissioner is supposed to be independent, she certainly did not demonstrate that with her opinionated commentary. It was quite political. She took aim at the integrity of this place and its members, insisting that we, me, are running a protection racket for MPs from being investigated by her office.

As an old media hack I can see spin a mile off, and it was there today, running a scaremongering media campaign designed to turn the public ire against politicians should this legislation be passed, claiming this legislation would make her office a toothless tiger. Of course, it does not, but perhaps she may have got that impression from drafting notes that somehow made it to her office, which could have been dated from the ones we are going to be debating today. You really need to search hard to find where the bite has actually left a significant impression.

She also does not like matters being referred to police before going to the DPP, because you cannot trust the police to do the job required, but rest assured we can trust the ICAC. With all due respect to Commissioner Vanstone, creating and enacting legislation is not her job. She carries it out according to the act that parliament has passed—not what she wants or demands, parliament must do. This is a classic case of tail trying to wag the dog and it sounds somewhat Cromwellian.

This is an act that needs to be amended, and Ms Vanstone and previous commissioner, Mr Lander, certainly acknowledge this. ICAC does not lose its enormous powers. It can still carry out its business but, more importantly, it is now free to concentrate on serious and systemic corruption, not the 5¢ and 10¢ stuff. It covers the entire public sector of more than 100,000 employees, but for reasons only known to the commissioner she has turned it into an us and them dispute. That is patently wrong.

This bill follows recommendations made by the Crime and Public Integrity Policy Committee last December and, since then, additions have been made as a result of disturbing and harrowing evidence that has come before the Select Committee on Damage, Harm or Adverse Outcomes Resulting from ICAC Investigations: the failed cases, the abuse of its power, the damage caused to individuals’ reputations, the suicides and attempted suicides of innocent people caught up in protracted investigations into charges that ultimately fell over or could not be proven.

Operation Bandicoot is worthy of a royal commission or judicial investigation. These stories of ICAC’s own conduct and inept investigations could never be told previously because of its veil of secrecy. People caught in its web are not allowed to talk to anyone about it. ICAC does not want stigmatised or traumatised people to come and see MPs like me or any other member in this parliament. Where do these aggrieved people go to be heard?

I want to make special mention of some of the brave and courageous people who did seek me out. Those eight innocent police officers from Sturt Mantle whose lives and careers were destroyed by Operation Bandicoot, a joint SAPOL-ICAC bungled investigation. They were found not guilty; most were acquitted.

I will pay particular tribute to retired Detective Sergeant Ian Mott. He has been quite courageous in coming forward. He was a 41-year veteran of SAPOL. He investigated countless major crimes and was highly regarded throughout SAPOL, but that ICAC investigation, Bandicoot, totally broke a strong man. And it should never have happened. Ms Vanstone says, ‘Being acquitted doesn’t mean you didn’t do it.’ What hope is there for restoration of your reputation, with a view like that?

I would also like to pay enormous tribute to the very brave and determined woman who the Hon. Tammy Franks has acknowledged already, Mrs Debbie Barr. I know that Mrs Barr is here today. I acknowledge Debbie today with her son, Christopher. Debbie’s husband was Chief Superintendent Doug Barr, one of South Australia’s finest, most decorated police officers. As has been mentioned, Doug was subjected to a protracted investigation, not knowing what he was supposed to have done. The mental anguish pushed him to the brink and he took his life in October 2019.

I would just like to read something that was written by his son, Christopher, in a letter he penned in January 2020 that he wanted to send to Mr Lander but never got around to sending. I want to read some excerpts from that, and I will also seek leave to table that letter. It reads like this:

Mr Lander,

I write today in response to your letter dated 19 December 2019, and with reference to the Submissions of Counsel Assisting the Commissioner relating to ICAC Investigation…

Here it is at last—the opportunity to respond. That tiny little glimmer of due process that my dad died waiting for. I can not respond to these submissions in his place. No one can, that opportunity passed when he [died] and both are irretrievably lost to us now. What I can do, however, and what conscience obliges me to do under such appalling circumstances as these, is to state my position and the position of my family.

Let me be clear from the outset: I have grave concerns about the way in which this investigation has been conducted. These submissions have only served to reinforce those concerns. The fact that this was not a criminal investigation does not free you from the obligation to act responsibly, with consideration to due process and procedural fairness, and certainly does not entitle you to cavalierly disrupt—and in this case, destroy—the lives of the people you are investigating.

There are many aspects of your handling of this process that are deserving of criticism. However, I will restrain myself today to raising specifically the fatal question of timeliness.

The apparent duration of this investigation beggars belief. For your office to have spent three years on what is ultimately an allegation of maladministration—well, I question whether you could have found evidence of mismanagement a little closer to home. Why did this investigation take so long? What were you doing? What did it cost? How much taxpayer money have you wasted on this exercise?

In July of 2019, after keeping dad in suspense for two years, you finally interviewed him. For the first time, he was allowed to hear selections of the allegations against him—and then testify on the spot in his defence, with no preparation or forewarning, regarding events that occurred three years earlier. Clearly, this is not a fair position to be placed in. Nonetheless, dad cooperated to the best of his ability.

If the long wait up to his interview were the only issue at hand, I would…have little cause to write to you today. Regrettably, that is not the case.

On Thursday the 11th July, at the conclusion of my dad’s interview, you made a clear and specific commitment:

‘Can I…explain how the process will…develop?…I’ll invite Mr Livesey to provide me with submissions as to the findings that I should make and as to whether or not any report should be made public or otherwise.

At that stage you’ll be given an opportunity of reading those submissions are making any comment that you wish to make in relation to those submissions and making any application you wish to make at that stage for further evidence to be taken or to cross-examine any of the witnesses who have previously given evidence. So you’ll be given every opportunity to test those submissions, if you wish.

…So you will not probably hear from us again for two or three weeks. As soon as I get the submissions, I shall circulate them to the people who I think may be adversely affected by any submission made by Mr Livesey. Do you understand the process?’

My dad thought he understood the process, Mr Lander. Two or three weeks. Then he’d know the full allegations, and then he’d be allowed his right of reply. Perhaps he misunderstood? For him, the opportunity to present his evidence and put forward his position was light at the end of a long and dark tunnel that this investigation had been.

So, he waited—and we waited with him. Three weeks—nothing. Four—nothing. Well, due process is worth waiting for, we’d say. Five, six, seven weeks—nothing, nothing, nothing. It’s a long time, Mr Lander, when you’re waiting to find out if your career could be over and your reputation destroyed. Eight weeks, nothing still. Rumours at work—everyone’s heard them, but what can he say? Nothing to refute them, not without causing more trouble. More time goes by—nine weeks, then ten, eleven, twelve. Surely soon, we tell him—but another week goes by, and still nothing. Thirteen. Then fourteen weeks—still no word.

I’m sorry, Mr Lander, but fourteen weeks was apparently my dad’s limit.

That these submissions are dated the 10th of October is sickening beyond words to what is left of my family. That was week thirteen, Mr Lander. That’s eight days before dad took his life over this matter. Let me be clear that we are in no doubt that had these submissions reached dad any time within those eight days he would still be alive. They were ready on the 10th , and he died waiting on the 18th.

It seems a straightforward statement:

‘As soon as I get the submissions, I shall circulate them…’

Perhaps the nuance is lost on us? We would like to know where these submissions were from the 10th onward. What hold-up, what other matter was so pressing that after having already delayed this process so extensively, you thought it was appropriate to delay it further still?

Sometimes things take longer than we think—I will not be gradually that point. I do find it highly concerning, however, that someone with your experience and credentials, who has apparently been dealing with investigations of this nature for a number of years, could be so wide of the mark in this instance. I would suggest that if you have provided someone with a timeline that has blown out more than four times over, it might be considered a common professional courtesy to get in touch and provide them with an update (and, as basic decency would suggest, perhaps an apology).

I will put it plainly: by the very standards set out in these submissions, I believe your protracted and clumsy handling of this investigation to be clear evidence of mismanagement. That it has cost a life makes it serious mismanagement unmatched by anything described by these submissions. Even if we are to accept every last allegation presented therein at face-value, my dad cost no lives and ruined no families.

That was written by Christopher Barr.

The PRESIDENT: You are seeking leave to table, are you?

The Hon. F. PANGALLO: Yes, I seek leave to table the letter, thank you, Mr President.

Leave granted.

The PRESIDENT: The Hon. Mr Pangallo, I am just aware of the approaching hour.

The Hon. F. PANGALLO: Yes, I have nearly finished. The more righteous the fight, the more opposition you will get. I am not a lawyer, I am not a QC, I am not a judge, but I can see when and where there has been a denial of natural justice, an abuse of process where innocent people are driven to despair, lives ruined, lives lost by an organisation that has not been fully scrutinised since it started. Just like Doug Barr’s needless death, I think it is one life too many.

Doug’s life was worth far more than the cost of bad legislation and mismanagement. I will dedicate this bill to the memory of Chief Superintendent Barr. I think we need to recognise that his illustrious career was actually denied to him because of his needless death, so I would like to do that for his family.

Lastly, I would like to sincerely thank the invaluable input I have received from Mr Dan Cregan, the member for Kavel; Mr Steve Murray, the member for Davenport; along with the Labor Leader of the Opposition, the Hon. Kyam Maher; the Leader of the Opposition in the House of Assembly, Mr Malinauskas; the Hon. Rob Lucas, the Treasurer; and so many others in this place who have lent their support and encouragement for this bill. They have also contributed.

I would also mention parliamentary counsel. We have actually kept them flat out for the last few weeks. Aimee Travers has done a fantastic job in doing this, working long hours, so I wish to thank parliamentary counsel, Aimee Travers, and also my senior adviser, Adrienne Gillam, and of course my colleagues at SA-Best, and also lawyers, the Police Association and others who have contacted my office. With that, thank you, Mr President. I look forward to the committee stage.

Bill read a second time.

Sitting suspended from 18:02 to 19:45

Committee Stage

In committee.

Clause 1 passed.

Clause 2.

The Hon. F. PANGALLO: I move:

Amendment No 1 [Pangallo–2]—

Page 7, lines 1 and 2—Delete clause 2 and substitute:

2—Commencement

(1) Subject to subsection (2), this Act comes into operation on the day on which it is assented to by the Governor.

(2) Section 57 comes into operation on a day to be fixed by proclamation.

With this amendment to clause 2, most of the measure would commence immediately on assent with the new inspectorate commencing later by proclamation. We can also see other amendments to transitional provisions which allow the existing OPI to continue as if they were a new separate OPI until a date to be determined by the minister by notice in the Gazette.

The Hon. R.I. LUCAS: Just to help expedite proceedings of the committee this evening, I do not intend to get up at every amendment to be moved by the honourable member and indicate the government’s support. We have done that at the outset, as I think other members have. That might expedite proceedings of the committee. In the absence of anyone getting up, I think you can assume there is support for the amendments. But there are occasional ones where I just want to add an explanation from the government’s viewpoint.

The government believes this is an important amendment because there are practical reasons why, with the commencement of new functions such as the inspectorate, clearly the government is going to have to advertise and there is a process that has to be followed in terms of the appointment of a new inspector, which is going to take time.

It is sometimes difficult to find people who are well suited and willing to serve, which in this case would be in either the position of the commissioner or the inspector position, and therefore this provides for that circumstance, plus there will be some establishment issues that will need to be established in relation to the relationship between the commissioner and the commissioner’s office and budget, the Ombudsman and the Ombudsman’s office and budget, the Office of Public Integrity and the Office of Public Integrity budget, and the inspector and the inspector’s office and budget.

So there are practical issues. With a commission with massively reduced functions and transfer of functions to the Ombudsman, there will obviously be a need, from the government’s viewpoint, for the transference of resources and budget from the commission to other new functions, or existing functions with new responsibilities, under the new governance arrangements, should this bill pass both houses of parliament.

Secondly, it does provide for a new independent Office of Public Integrity with a director, and there will need to be a process of appointment of the director of that office. In the interim, there is a transitional arrangement which allows the office to continue its operations with staffing and with someone acting as the head, but there is a process that will be required to be undertaken by the government of the day, which will necessarily take a little bit of time. It is for those reasons the Hon. Mr Pangallo has moved these amendments and is the reason why we support these, and some consequential amendments as well.

The Hon. K.J. MAHER: Like the Leader of the Government, I will not take much time but just express, as I said in my second reading contribution, that the opposition is supporting the bill on the basis that the bill is a package with the two sets of amendments. It can be taken as read that we will support all the amendments, to help with the quick passage and the uncomplicated passage during committee.

The CHAIR: At this point, with relevance to what the leader has just outlined about two sets of amendments, I understand that one set of amendments has replaced another set. Would the Hon. Mr Pangallo like to clarify that, please?

The Hon. F. PANGALLO: Yes, I will, thank you. The first set of amendments are now being replaced by the second lot of amendments, Mr Chairman.

The CHAIR: Thank you very much. I think it is important that that go on the record.

The Hon. T.A. FRANKS: I indicate that the Greens will be supporting this amendment and understand that this came to us by way of conversations with all of the interested parties, and indeed it does provide an excellent way forward in terms of ensuring that we enact and implement those parts of the bill that we can as soon as possible and those which need that extra process are given the due time and the due process, given the importance of these changes that they need.

Under the bill, the OPI will continue in existence, and we are very cognisant of that—it is just that they will be answerable to a new independent director rather than to the commissioner, and the transitional provisions will preserve the status quo by saying that the commissioner acts as the director until that date, which will be determined by the minister. We think that it is quite wise to tidy up commencement provisions, because in private members’ bills sometimes you cannot trust that the government will necessarily implement the parliament’s wishes. So on that note as well we support this.

The Hon. J.A. DARLEY: For the record, I will be supporting all 41 amendments.

Amendment carried; clause as amended passed.

Clauses 3 to 7 passed.

Clause 8.

The Hon. F. PANGALLO: I move:

Amendment No 2 [Pangallo–2]—

Page 8, lines 13 and 14 [clause 8(2)]—Delete subclause (2) and substitute:

(2) Section 5(2)—delete subsection (2)

This reflects the creation of the commission, rather than a commissioner, and the removal of the jurisdiction in respect of misconduct and maladministration, which is now to be defined under the Ombudsman Act. This is the first amendment to clause 8. It also removes the provision of allowing incidental offences to be treated as if they were corruption. Currently, section 5(2) says that, if the commissioner suspects that an offence that is not a corruption offence is directly or indirectly connected with or part of a course of activity involving the commission of corruption, then that incidental offence is taken to be corruption. The other offences should be referred to SAPOL. Amendment No. 5 clarifies this position.

Amendment carried.

The Hon. F. PANGALLO: I move:

Amendment No 3 [Pangallo–2]—

Page 8, line 15 [clause 8(3)]—Delete ‘Section 5(3) and (4)—delete subsections (3) and (4)’ and substitute:

Section 5(3), (4), (5) and (6)—delete subsections (3), (4), (5) and (6)

This is the second amendment to clause 8, which corrects a drafting error. Subsections (5) and (6) relate to the deleted subsections (3) and (4) and so should also be deleted.

Amendment carried; clause as amended passed.

Clause 9.

The Hon. F. PANGALLO: I move:

Amendment No 4 [Pangallo–2]—

Page 8, after line 24—Insert ‘Note—’

Examples of material that falls within this section include statements made or documents or material tabled or received in the course of the proceedings of the Parliament or a committee of the Parliament.

This clarifies that the powers under the act may not be exercised in relation to matters to which parliamentary privilege applies. It is proposed to insert a note with examples of material covered by parliamentary privilege. Examples of material that falls within the section include statements made or documents or material tabled or received in the course of the proceedings of the parliament or a committee of the parliament.

The Hon. T.A. FRANKS: I wish to indicate that the Greens will be supporting this amendment. I think it is quite an important matter in the discussion of anti-corruption bodies to ensure that we have clarity around parliamentary privilege. We are an institution, as is the ICAC, that needs our own integrity and independence. There are very long-established rules that provide protections in our democracy and strengthen our democracy. I note that in Western Australia there has been quite a protracted debate around parliamentary privilege with the ICAC. I reflect upon that and emphasise the need to have clarified that particular role of parliamentary privilege with regard to our act in South Australia, lest we end up in the same place as that jurisdiction.

Amendment carried; clause as amended passed.

Clause 10 passed.

Clause 11.

The Hon. F. PANGALLO: I move:

Amendment No 5 [Pangallo–2]—

Page 9, lines 8 to 13 [Clause 11(1), inserted subsection (1)(d)]—Delete paragraph (d) and substitute:

(d) if, in the course of performing functions in relation to potential corruption in public administration, any suspected misconduct or maladministration or any offences (not being offences that constitute the potential corruption in public administration) are identified—to report the matter to the Office or the Ombudsman for assessment or refer the matter to a law enforcement agency, the Ombudsman or a public authority or public officer, as the Commission considers appropriate.

This amendment requires that matters be referred to a law enforcement agency for prosecution. In other words, it prevents the commission from referring directly to the DPP. Functions of the commission are narrowed to corruption only and it creates the commission as a body corporate. Amendment No. 5 clarifies the power of the commission to refer matters that fall outside their jurisdiction.

Amendment carried; clause as amended passed.

Clauses 12 to 16 passed.

Clause 17.

The Hon. F. PANGALLO: I move:

Amendment No 6 [Pangallo–2]—

Page 12, after line 29 [clause 17, inserted section 18A]—Insert:

(3) The system must ensure that the Office gives consideration to the motives of a complainant and that complaints that are apparently made in bad faith, for an improper purpose, are vexatious or that otherwise amount to an abuse of the complaints system are not received for consideration by the Office.

With this amendment, the Office for Public Integrity continues in existence and retains basically the same functions but is established as a separate body from the ICAC with its own director. It will establish its own processes and procedures as currently set out by the ICAC. Because it is being separated from ICAC, a new standalone part has been created. Most of these provisions are in the current act and are just being relocated to the new part.

The amendment to clause 17 inserts section 18A. This clause requires that the complaint system developed for the OPI must include a threshold test that ensures that complaints that are made in bad faith or for an improper purpose or are vexatious or otherwise an abuse of the complaints system are weeded out and not considered.

The Hon. T.A. FRANKS: The Greens strongly support this particular amendment and I note that I have had constituents who I believe, and certainly I have heard evidence in the select committees on which I have served on, that complaints can be made currently that are vexatious, that are about revenge, that are made in bad faith and they get far further than they should.

Indeed, ensuring that we are very clear as legislators that the ICAC and the associated functions, now the OPI in this case, is not to be used as a tool to silence and frighten and cow people, but indeed, something that is there to really address maladministration or corruption, depending on the body, is the true purpose of these functions. I think it is a most welcome change to the operations that provides much needed clarity.

The Hon. R.I. LUCAS: I just want to add to some comments I made in the second reading contribution. Should we—well, it will not be me because I will be happily retired—should members of parliament have a code of conduct that is operational in the very near future, the whole issue of potentially vexatious complaints being made against some of those provisions of the code of conduct, which for example were recommended by the commissioner, should they be adopted along those lines, and as I indicated at the second reading they are very general provisions in relation to treating everybody with respect, you could have the capacity as outlined where vexatious complaints are made against members of parliament on a regular basis.

This sort of provision and its proper implementation is an important provision in terms of trying to discourage people from inappropriately using that particular provision, or those particular provisions, of the legislation should both this legislation pass and the parliament adopt a code of conduct, as it is intended to do so. It has important work to do and I am pleased to see the amendment that has been moved.

Amendment carried.

The Hon. F. PANGALLO: I move:

Amendment No 7 [Pangallo–2]—

Page 13, after line 3 [clause 17, inserted section 18B]—Insert:

(2a) The directions and guidelines must not require—

(a) a public officer to report to the Office any information that is subject to legal professional privilege or parliamentary privilege; or

(b) a judicial officer to report to the Office any information that has been received by the judicial officer in the exercise of their judicial functions; or

(c) a member of Parliament to report to the Office any information that has been received by the member in the exercise of their functions as a member of Parliament.

This follows on in relation to the reporting system. It is an amendment to clause 17, inserted section 18B. This amendment ensures that directions under section 18B do not impose inappropriate or improper reporting obligations on public officers. Paragraph (b) is already reflected in the current directions issued under the act and (c) would provide equivalent protection for members of parliament.

Legal professional privilege is already carved out to some extent in the current directions but is limited to the Solicitor-General and staff, and that is in respect of legal advice to the Attorney-General, the Crown Solicitor, the DPP and their staff in relation to legal advice given to the Crown.

Amendment carried.

The Hon. F. PANGALLO: I move:

Amendment No 8 [Pangallo–2]—

Page 14, line 9 [clause 17, inserted section 18E(2)]—Delete ‘other’

This relates to assessment of a complaint or a report. This is consequential to amendment No. 5 and ensures broad power for the commission to refer matters to the OPI for assessment.

Amendment carried; clause as amended passed.

Clauses 18 to 22 passed.

Clause 23.

The Hon. F. PANGALLO: I move:

Amendment No 9 [Pangallo–2]—

Page 15, line 34 [clause 23(3) inserted subsection (3)]—delete ‘Commission’ and substitute:

Commissioner

This correction to clause 23 corrects a drafting error.

Amendment carried; clause as amended passed.

Clause 24.

The Hon. F. PANGALLO: I move:

Amendment No 10 [Pangallo–2]—

Page 16, line 41 [clause 24 inserted section 25(4)(e)]—delete ‘Commissioner’ and substitute:

Commission

This amendment to clause 24 corrects a drafting error.

Amendment carried; clause as amended passed.

Clauses 25 to 33 passed.

Clause 34.

The Hon. F. PANGALLO: I move:

Amendment No 11 [Pangallo–2]—

Page 18, after line 21—Insert:

(2) Section 39—delete ‘an assessment,’

This reflects the creation of the commission rather than a commissioner. The amendment is consequential to the separation of OPI from the commission.

Amendment carried; clause as amended passed.

New clause 34A.

The Hon. F. PANGALLO: I move:

Amendment No 12 [Pangallo–2]—

Page 18, after line 21—Insert:

34A—Insertion of section 39A

After section 39 insert:

39A—Information to be provided

If—

(a) on completing the investigation of a matter involving potential issues of corruption in public administration, the Commission determines not to refer the matter to a relevant law enforcement agency or to a public authority; or

(b) a relevant law enforcement agency or public authority to whom a matter is referred by the Commission determines not to further investigate or deal with the matter,

reasonable steps must be taken by the Commission, or by the agency or authority (as the case may be), to ensure that each person who was the subject of the investigation is informed of that determination as soon as practicable.

This proposed new clause ensures that people being investigated are notified if a decision is made not to further pursue the investigation.

New clause inserted.

Clauses 35 to 46 passed.

Clause 47.

The Hon. F. PANGALLO: I move:

Amendment No 13 [Pangallo–2]—

Page 25, line 5 [clause 47(7), inserted subsection (6)(b)]—Delete paragraph (b)

Amendment No 14 [Pangallo–2]—

Page 25, lines 11 to 15 [clause 47(7), inserted subsection (8)]—Delete inserted subsection (8)

These two amendments will remove the exception allowing a minister to make a public statement and note that parliamentary privilege is preserved under section 6 of the act.

The Hon. R.I. LUCAS: I place on the record that the important clarifier the Hon. Mr Pangallo has made in relation to this is that parliamentary privilege is preserved under the package, which means that not only a minister but obviously a member of parliament is entitled in their judgement to make a contribution with the protection of parliamentary privilege in the accepted way. So whilst there is to be, potentially, a significant restriction in terms of what a minister can say by way of a public statement, parliamentary privilege ensures that a minister and/or a member is entitled to make statements with the protection of parliamentary privilege.

The Hon. T.A. FRANKS: I rise to support both of these amendments and note that parliamentary privilege, as I stated before, is a very important part of our democracy and provides that transparency, but indeed there are checks and balances on parliamentary privilege as well, and we could be referred to a privileges committee should we abuse such privileges, and we stand aware of that.

I also note that amendment No. 14 ensures and replaces the power of the inspector to direct the commission or the office to publish retractions or to pay compensation where there have been errors that have impacted adversely on people’s reputations and lives, and I think that should be most welcomed.

Amendments carried; clause as amended passed.

Clauses 48 to 51 passed.

Clause 52.

The Hon. F. PANGALLO: I move:

Amendment No 15 [Pangallo–2]—

Page 25, lines 26 to 28—Delete the clause and substitute:

52—Amendment of section 59—Evidence

Section 59(2)—delete subsection (2)

This is consequential to amendment No. 2.

Amendment carried; clause as amended passed.

New clause 52A.

The Hon. F. PANGALLO: I move:

Amendment No 16 [Pangallo–2]—

Page 25, after line 28—After clause 52 insert:

52A—Insertion of section 59A

After section 59 insert:

59A—Legal assistance

(1) Despite any other Act or law but subject to subsection (2), the Attorney-General must determine a claim for a relevant payment in respect of legal expenses incurred after the commencement of this section in accordance with the policy set out in Schedule 5.

(2) This section does not prevent the Attorney-General making any payment to a person in excess of the amount that would be payable in accordance with the policy set out in Schedule 5 or in circumstances other than those referred to in that Schedule.

(3) In this section—

relevant payment means a payment as reimbursement of costs associated with the engagement of an independent legal practitioner by a public officer who has been the subject of, or required to participate in, an investigation under this Act.

This is a new clause 52A. This amendment requires the Attorney-General to apply the modified version of legal bulletin No. 5, to be inserted as a schedule of the act by a later amendment, to applications for reimbursement of legal costs as a minimum standard. The provision only applies to expenses incurred after the commencement of this section—see (1)—so it does not affect payment for any legal service previously incurred or the subject of a previous claim. Essentially, what it will do is ensure that there is not a doubling up in claims for reimbursement.

New clause inserted.

Clauses 53 and 54 passed.

Clause 55.

The Hon. F. PANGALLO: I move:

Amendment No 17 [Pangallo–2]—

Page 26, lines 21 and 22 [clause 55(8)]—Delete subclause (8)

This is the amendment to clause 55 where there is the inclusion of this subclause; it was a drafting error and it can be deleted.

Amendment carried.

The Hon. F. PANGALLO: I move:

Amendment No 18 [Pangallo–2]—

Page 27, after line 4—Insert:

(9a) Schedule 2, clause 7(4)(a)—delete ‘subclause (2)(c)’ and substitute:

subclause (2)(d)

(9b) Schedule 2, clause 8(4)(b)—delete paragraph (b)

This is a further amendment to clause 55. Proposed subclause (9a) is consequential to 55(9) of the bill, so this just updates a cross-reference. Proposed subclause (9b) removes the current limitation on claiming privilege in relation to a business record that is required to be produced at an examination.

Amendment carried; clause as amended passed.

Clause 56 passed.

Clause 57.

The Hon. F. PANGALLO: I move:

Amendment No 19 [Pangallo–2]—

Page 28, lines 17 to 21 [clause 57, inserted Schedule 4 Part 2 clause 2(5)]—Delete subclause (5) and substitute:

(5) A person may only be appointed to be the Inspector if, following referral by the Attorney-General of not less than 2 candidates who are qualified for appointment as the Inspector to the Statutory Officers Committee established under the Parliamentary Committees Act 1991, the appointment has been recommended by at least a two-thirds majority of that Committee.

This changes the process for the appointment of the inspector.

The Hon. R.I. LUCAS: I think it is important to place some clarity in relation to this appointment process, which is the subject of some discussion because of the importance of the position of the inspector. Those of us who followed with some interest the proceedings in the New South Wales jurisdiction in relation to the battle of the legal Titans, as it is commonly referred to, will understand the importance of the position of the inspector and getting an appropriate person. Obviously, it is important to get an appropriate person to be the commissioner, but it is also important to get an appropriate person to be the inspector.

The new process which is being proposed in this package of amendments is that the Attorney-General of the day will propose at least two, but it could be two, appropriate candidates who are qualified for appointment to the Statutory Officers Committee. The Statutory Officers Committee then can express a point of view and a choice, but that has to be recommended by at least a two-thirds majority of the committee. That ensures what is generally intended in relation to these appointments.

The Statutory Officers Committee is used for appointments like the Auditor-General and the Electoral Commissioner, important positions which need to be seen to be truly independent. In this particular case it is even more so, and this will ensure what should occur in practice anyway, and that is a consensus appointment. That is, it does ensure that the government of the day and the opposition of the day, or non-government members of the day, should come to an agreement in relation to the appropriate person to be appointed.

It is important to clarify the alternative selection process which is proposed in this particular package, and it has been done so for a reason, because of the strong views that the Hon. Mr Pangallo, and indeed many others, did have in relation to the importance of getting the right person for this job and one who can be supported by all in terms of the important work that he or she is going to have to do.

Amendment carried.

The Hon. F. PANGALLO: I move:

Amendment No 20 [Pangallo–2]—

Page 31, line 37 [clause 57, inserted Schedule 4 Part 3 clause 6(1)]—After ‘the Inspector’ insert:

at an examination

Amendment No 21 [Pangallo–2]—

Page 32, after line 2 [clause 57, inserted Schedule 4 Part 3 clause 6]—After (3) insert:

(4) The Inspector may exercise the powers of an examiner under Schedule 2 in relation to a person summoned for examination under this clause (and that Schedule applies, subject to any modifications prescribed by the regulations, as if the Inspector were an examiner).

Amendment No. 20 relates to the following amendment and it ensures consistency of wording. Amendment No. 21 will ensure the equivalence of powers to examine witnesses between the inspector and the ICAC.

Amendments carried.

The Hon. F. PANGALLO: I move:

Amendment No 22 [Pangallo–2]—

Page 33, after line 28 [clause 57, inserted Schedule 4 Part 3 clause 8]—Insert:

(12) The provisions set out in Schedule 3 apply in relation to a warrant under this clause subject to any modifications prescribed by the regulations.

This amendment ensures the equivalence between the ICAC and the inspector in relation to search warrants and claims of privilege.

Amendment carried.

The Hon. F. PANGALLO: I move:

Amendment No 23 [Pangallo–2]—

Page 35, lines 9 to 16 [clause 57, inserted Schedule 4 Part 4 clause 9(6)(c)]—Delete paragraph (c) and substitute:

(c) if the Inspector finds that undue prejudice to the reputation of any person was caused by the Office or the Commission, the Inspector may—

(i) publish any statement or material that the Inspector thinks will help to alleviate that prejudice; or

(ii) recommend that the Commission or the Office (as the case may require) pay an amount of compensation to the person.

This amendment replaces the power of the inspector to direct the commission or the office to publish retractions, etc., or pay compensation.

The Hon. R.I. LUCAS: Again, I think this is an important amendment, which is different from what was proposed in the original bill. As the Hon. Mr Pangallo just indicated, in the original bill, if I can refer to this clash of the legal titans, inspector versus the commissioner, potentially over a particular issue, what the original bill envisaged was an arrangement where the inspector with his or her view could instruct the commissioner with a completely different view about a particular issue to make certain statements.

What this is outlining is that the inspector is entitled to express his or her view and the commissioner may well take, for their particular reasons, a different view in relation to it, but the proposal allows both of them to express their point of view. The inspector has additional powers, which are outlined in the legislation, by way of recommending compensation and recompense for legal expenses and can make public statements, whereas the commissioner cannot make public statements.

The inspector is provided with an additional suite of powers in relation to this, and he or she is entitled to exercise those powers but does not, in essence, have the power of directing the commissioner to express a different view from the view that the commissioner may well genuinely hold in relation to a particular issue.

Amendment carried.

The Hon. F. PANGALLO: I move:

Amendment No 24 [Pangallo–2]—

Page 35, lines 24 to 30 [clause 57, inserted Schedule 4 Part 4 clause 9(9)]—Delete subclause (9)

This is consequential to the previous amendment.

Amendment carried; clause as amended passed.

New clause 58.

The Hon. F. PANGALLO: I move:

Amendment No 25 [Pangallo–2]—

Page 36, after line 5—Insert:

58—Insertion of Schedule

After Schedule 4 insert:

Schedule 5—Reimbursement of Legal Fees Policy

1—Interpretation

In this Policy, unless the contrary intention appears—

Government Board appointee means a member of a full-time of part-time board, committee, tribunal, trust, commission, council, authority, panel, taskforce, forum, working party or group—

(a) established by or under an Act of Parliament of South Australia (excluding the Local Government Act 1999) and having a majority of members appointed by either a Minister or the Governor; or

(b) established by a Minister or legal instrument such as a constitution or charter, having a majority of members appointed by either a Minister or the Governor,

and includes a former Government Board appointee where the investigation or proceeding concerns conduct that occurred at a time when that person was a Government Board appointee;

Government employee means—

(a) a public sector employee as defined by the Public Sector Act 2009; or

(b) a person who is appointed to any office under an Act; or

(c) a volunteer within the meaning of the Volunteers Protection Act 2001 where the work carried out by the volunteer is directed or coordinated by a public authority,

and includes a former Government employee where the investigation or proceeding concerns conduct that occurred at a time when that person was a Government employee;

Member of Parliament or Member includes a former Member where the investigation concerns conduct that occurred at a time when that person was a Minister of the Crown;

relevant ICAC investigation means an investigation under this Act.

2—Who can claim for reimbursement

(1) A Government Employee, Government Board appointee, Minister or Member of Parliament is to be reimbursed for costs they have incurred associated with their engagement of an independent legal practitioner where—

(a) the Government employee, Government Board appointee, Minister or member of parliament has been the subject of, or required to participate in, a relevant ICAC investigation; and

(b) the additional criteria for reimbursement set out in clause 3 are satisfied.

(2) A Government employee’s union or professional association that has paid legal costs on behalf of the Government employee in respect of their participation in a relevant ICAC investigation may seek reimbursement in accordance with this Policy subject to the same restrictions and conditions as if the Government employee had made the claim.

3—Additional criteria for reimbursement

The additional criteria for reimbursement are—

(a) the Government employee, Government Board appointee, Minister or Member of Parliament has not been convicted of an indictable offence that constitutes corruption in public administration as a result of the relevant ICAC investigation; and

(b) the Crown Solicitor (or some other person authorised by the Crown Solicitor) has, in writing—

(i) advised the Government employee, Government Board appointee, Minister or Member of Parliament that they will not be represented by the Crown Solicitor for the purposes of responding to or participating in the relevant ICAC investigation (or the Crown Solicitor considers that it was appropriate in all the circumstances for the Government employee, Government Board appointee, Minister or Member of Parliament not to approach the Crown Solicitor before obtaining legal representation); and

(ii) agreed that the legal representation of the Government employee, Government Board appointee, Minister or Member of Parliament for the purposes of responding to or participating in the proceedings or investigation is or was reasonably required; and

(c) the Crown Solicitor (or some other person authorised by the Crown Solicitor) has, in writing, certified that the costs to be reimbursed are reasonable; and

(d) the Government employee, Government Board appointee, Minister or Member of Parliament is not indemnified in relation to those costs (including by the State of South Australia (through SAicorp or another agency), or under a policy of insurance) and is not entitled to assistance pursuant to the Department of Health Professional Indemnity (Medical Malpractice) Program; and

(e) the Government employee, Government Board appointee, Minister or Member of Parliament has assigned to the Crown in the right of the State of South Australia any right to recover the costs to be reimbursed from any other party.

4—Reasonable costs

(1) The Crown Solicitor (or some other person authorised by the Crown Solicitor) will only certify that costs to be reimbursed are reasonable where satisfied that—

(a) the costs claimed have been reasonably incurred in order to allow the Government employee, Government Board appointee, Minister or Member of Parliament to appropriately respond to or participate in the relevant ICAC investigation; and

(b) the costs claimed have been calculated consistently with the applicable Crown Solicitor’s rates for private solicitor fees as published on the Attorney-General’s Department website from time to time; and

(c) in the case of costs associated with the briefing of Senior Counsel or Queen’s Counsel, and including where costs associated with the briefing of junior counsel in the same matter are also sought, the exceptional circumstances of the matter justify such expenditure; and

(d) in the case of costs associated with any review or appeal proceedings arising out of the relevant ICAC investigation instigated or joined by the Government employee, Government board appointee, Minister or Member of Parliament, the exceptional circumstances of the matter justify such expenditure; and

(e) any costs or expenses recovered by the Government employee, Government Board appointee, Minister or Member of Parliament from other sources have been appropriately deducted from the costs claimed; and

(f) the Government employee, Government Board appointee, Minister or Member of Parliament has provided all information reasonably requested to allow the costs claimed to be assessed in accordance with this Policy.

(2) The amount to be reimbursed under this Policy shall include GST on the legal costs to be reimbursed if the Government employee, Government Board appointee, Minister or Member of Parliament or, in the case of a Government employee, their union or professional association, is not able to recover the GST as an input tax credit.

5—Procedure for reimbursement

(1) In the event that it is necessary for the Independent Commissioner Against Corruption or the Director of OPI to authorise the provision of information to another person for the purposes of this Policy, the Government employee, Government Board appointee, Minister or Member of Parliament will seek that authorisation as appropriate.

(2) A Government employee, Government Board appointee, Minister or Member of Parliament seeking reimbursement of legal fees in accordance with this Policy must—

(a) obtain as soon as practicable the necessary written agreement from the Crown Solicitor as required by clause 3(b); and

(b) await the finalisation of the relevant ICAC investigation and, if the person has been charged with an offence referred to in clause 3(a), await the finalisation of proceedings for that offence (unless seeking an interim payment in accordance with this Policy); and

(c) submit a written claim for certification of the reasonableness of the costs for reimbursement to the Crown Solicitor, including—

(i) an assignment of rights (as contemplated by clause 3(e)) in a form approved by the Crown Solicitor; and

(ii) all relevant information in support of the eligibility of the claim pursuant to this Policy, including any additional information reasonably requested by the Crown Solicitor; and

(d) enter into a legally enforceable agreement with appropriate security for repayment of any reimbursement in the event that they are convicted of an offence referred to in clause 3(a).

(3) If the costs claimed (or part thereof) are certified as reasonable, the Crown Solicitor will forward the claim to the Attorney-General (or their nominee) for finalisation of the claim.

6—Interim payments

(1) Prior to the finalisation of a relevant ICAC investigation, a Government employee, Government Board appointee, Minister or Member of Parliament may be reimbursed on an interim basis for costs they have incurred associated with their engagement of an independent legal practitioner, where—

(a) the Government employee, Government Board appointee, Minister or Member of Parliament enters into a legally enforceable agreement with appropriate security for repayment of any reimbursement in the event that they are convicted of an offence referred to in clause 3(a);

(b) the criteria for reimbursement set out in this Policy are otherwise satisfied.

(2) A Government employee, Government Board appointee, Minister or Member of Parliament seeking an interim payment of legal fees must do so in accordance with the procedure for reimbursement set out in this Policy.

(3) A refusal by the Attorney-General (or their nominee) to approve an interim payment does not prevent a Government employee, Government Board appointee, Minister or Member of Parliament from seeking reimbursement in accordance with this Policy following the finalisation of the criminal proceedings or relevant ICAC investigation.

(4) If the Crown Solicitor certifies that costs in excess of $100 000 are likely to be incurred by a Government employee, Government Board appointee, Minister or Member of Parliament in respect of a relevant ICAC investigation, the Attorney-General must not refuse to approve interim payments on the making of an application in accordance with the requirements of this clause.

This proposed new clause codifies Legal Bulletin No. 5, but only insofar as it relates to ICAC investigations, and it modifies the bulletin in particular to only exclude persons who are ultimately convicted of an indictable corruption offence and to provide for interim payments where the likely cost will exceed $100,000.

The Hon. R.I. LUCAS: I think it is important to place on the record that I referred to this briefly in my second reading contribution as a significant change. It establishes a new threshold in relation to the potential payment of legal fees. Currently, Legal Bulletin No. 5 has a threshold of material adverse finding or material dereliction of duty and this is conviction; therefore, it is entirely possible that someone might not be convicted but it may well be that they might have reached the threshold of material adverse finding or material dereliction of duty and therefore might not be entitled to a reimbursement of legal offences. This is a significant change in terms of a new test, which is part of this package that is being supported by this chamber.

New clause inserted.

Schedule 1.

The Hon. F. PANGALLO: I move:

Amendment No 26 [Pangallo–2]—

Page 39, lines 15 to 20 [Schedule 1, clause 13(2)]—Delete subclause (2) and substitute:

(2) Section 246(6)(ba)—delete ‘Commissioner Against Corruption, the Deputy Commissioner, an examiner or an investigator under the Independent Commissioner Against Corruption Act 2012 or in the course of the assessment of a complaint or report under that Act’ and substitute:

Commission Against Corruption under the Independent Commission Against Corruption Act 2012

This corrects a drafting error.

Amendment carried.

The Hon. F. PANGALLO: I move:

Amendment No 27 [Pangallo–2]—

Page 39, after line 20—Insert:

13A—Amendment of section 251—Abuse of public office

Section 251—after subsection (2) insert:

(3) This section does not apply in relation to the use of information by a member of Parliament in the course of, or for the purposes of, the proper exercise of the functions of a member of Parliament (which include, without limitation, receiving information from constituents and making enquiries on behalf of constituents).

This is a proposed new clause. This is a related amendment to the Criminal Law Consolidation Act and carves out certain information from the abuse of public office offence to ensure that the offence does not inhibit the proper exercise of functions by a member of parliament.

The Hon. T.A. FRANKS: I think it is important to place on the record in terms of some of the implementation of this particular amendment that any on foot investigations against MPs will continue under the old act, but other matters will have the act as amended apply. Where those other matters not involving MPs do not relate to corruption, they will need to be referred on. So no MPs get a protection racket out of us tonight.

Amendment carried.

The Hon. F. PANGALLO: I move:

Amendment No 28 [Pangallo–2]—

Page 41, lines 2 to 18 [Schedule 1 clause 22]—Delete clause 22

This provision is not necessary under the final form of the Statutes Amendment (Local Government Review) Bill 2021. The provision being amended was actually removed from that bill by amendments in the House of Assembly.

Amendment carried.

The Hon. F. PANGALLO: I move:

Amendment No 29 [Pangallo–2]—

Page 44, after line 36 [Schedule 1, clause 30, inserted section 12A]—Insert:

(3) The system must ensure that the Ombudsman gives consideration to the motives of a complainant and that complaints that are apparently made in bad faith, for an improper purpose, are vexatious or that otherwise amount to an abuse of the complaints system are not received for consideration by the Ombudsman.

This amendment to propose section 12A in clause 30 is consequential to match the amendment to the ICAC Act.

Amendment carried.

The Hon. F. PANGALLO: I move:

Amendment No 30 [Pangallo–2]—

Page 52, lines 20 to 26 [Schedule 1, clause 40, inserted section 29(8)(c)]—Delete paragraph (c) and substitute:

(c) if the Inspector finds that undue prejudice to the reputation of any person was caused by the Ombudsman, the Inspector may—

(i) publish any statement or material that the Inspector thinks will help to alleviate that prejudice; or

(ii) recommend that the Ombudsman pay an amount of compensation to the person.

Amendment No 31 [Pangallo–2]—

Page 53, lines 1 to 6 [Schedule 1, clause 40, inserted section 29(12)]—Delete inserted subsection (12)

These amendments are inserted in section 29 in clause 40 and they are consequential to match the ICAC amendment.

Amendments carried.

The Hon. F. PANGALLO: I move:

Amendment No 32 [Pangallo–2]—

Page 56, line 5 [Schedule 1, clause 40, inserted section 29A(7)(b)]—Delete inserted paragraph (b)

Amendment No 33 [Pangallo–2]—

Page 56, lines 8 to 12 [Schedule 1, clause 40, inserted section 29A(8)]—Delete inserted subsection (8)

These amendments are inserted in section 29A in clause 40 and are consequential to match the ICAC amendment.

Amendments carried.

The Hon. F. PANGALLO: I move:

Amendment No 34 [Pangallo–2]—

Page 57, after line 18 [Schedule 1, clause 40]—Insert:

29C—Legal assistance

(1) Despite any other Act or law but subject to subsection (2), the Attorney-General must determine a claim for a relevant payment in respect of legal expenses incurred after the commencement of this section in accordance with the policy set out in Schedule 1.

(2) This section does not prevent the Attorney-General making any payment to a person in excess of the amount that would be payable in accordance with the policy set out in Schedule 1 or in circumstances other than those referred to in that Schedule.

(3) In this section—

relevant payment means a payment as reimbursement of costs associated with the engagement of an independent legal practitioner by a public officer who has been the subject of, or required to participate in, an investigation under this Act involving allegations of misconduct or maladministration in public administration.

This is a proposed new section to match ICAC. This amendment requires the Attorney-General to apply the modified version of Legal Bulletin 5—this is to be inserted as a schedule of the act by a later amendment—to applications for reimbursement of legal costs as a minimum standard.

The provision only applies to expenses incurred after the commencement of this section, see number (1), so it does not affect payment for any legal service previously incurred or the subject of a previous claim.

Amendment carried.

The Hon. F. PANGALLO: I move:

Amendment No 35 [Pangallo–2]—

Page 59, after line 15—Insert:

41A—Insertion of Schedule 1

After section 33 insert:

Schedule 1—Reimbursement of Legal Fees Policy

1—Interpretation

In this Policy, unless the contrary intention appears—

Government Board appointee means a member of a full-time of part-time board, committee, tribunal, trust, commission, council, authority, panel, taskforce, forum, working party or group—

(a) established by or under an Act of Parliament of South Australia (excluding the Local Government Act 1999) and having a majority of members appointed by either a Minister or the Governor; or

(b) established by a Minister or legal instrument such as a constitution or charter, having a majority of members appointed by either a Minister or the Governor,

and includes a former Government Board appointee where the investigation or proceeding concerns conduct that occurred at a time when that person was a Government Board appointee;

Government employee means—

(a) a public sector employee as defined by the Public Sector Act 2009; or

(b) a person who is appointed to any office under an Act; or

(c) a volunteer within the meaning of the Volunteers Protection Act 2001 where the work carried out by the volunteer is directed or coordinated by a public authority,

and includes a former Government employee where the investigation or proceeding concerns conduct that occurred at a time when that person was a Government employee;

Member of Parliament or Member includes a former Member where the investigation concerns conduct that occurred at a time when that person was a Minister of the Crown;

relevant investigation means an investigation under this Act involving allegations of misconduct or maladministration in public administration.

2—Who can claim for reimbursement

(1) A Government Employee, Government Board appointee, Minister or Member of Parliament is to be reimbursed for costs they have incurred associated with their engagement of an independent legal practitioner where—

(a) the Government employee, Government Board appointee, Minister or member of parliament has been the subject of, or required to participate in, a relevant investigation; and

(b) the additional criteria for reimbursement set out in clause 3 are satisfied.

(2) A Government employee’s union or professional association that has paid legal costs on behalf of the Government employee in respect of their participation in a relevant investigation may seek reimbursement in accordance with this Policy subject to the same restrictions and conditions as if the Government employee had made the claim.

3—Additional criteria for reimbursement

The additional criteria for reimbursement are—

(a) no material adverse finding against the Government employee, Government Board appointee, Minister or Member of Parliament has been made as a result of the relevant investigation; and

(b) the Crown Solicitor (or some other person authorised by the Crown Solicitor) has, in writing—

(i) advised the Government employee, Government Board appointee, Minister or Member of Parliament that they will not be represented by the Crown Solicitor for the purposes of responding to or participating in the relevant investigation (or the Crown Solicitor considers that it was appropriate in all the circumstances for the Government employee, Government Board appointee, Minister or Member of Parliament not to approach the Crown Solicitor before obtaining legal representation); and

(ii) agreed that the legal representation of the Government employee, Government Board appointee, Minister or Member of Parliament for the purposes of responding to or participating in the proceedings or investigation is or was reasonably required; and

(c) the Crown Solicitor (or some other person authorised by the Crown Solicitor) has, in writing, certified that the costs to be reimbursed are reasonable; and

(d) the Government employee, Government Board appointee, Minister or Member of Parliament is not indemnified in relation to those costs (including by the State of South Australia (through SAICorp or another agency), or under a policy of insurance) and is not entitled to assistance pursuant to the Department of Health Professional Indemnity (Medical Malpractice) Program; and

(e) the Government employee, Government Board appointee, Minister or Member of Parliament has assigned to the Crown in the right of the State of South Australia any right to recover the costs to be reimbursed from any other party.

4—Reasonable costs

(1) The Crown Solicitor (or some other person authorised by the Crown Solicitor) will only certify that costs to be reimbursed are reasonable where satisfied that—

(a) the costs claimed have been reasonably incurred in order to allow the Government employee, Government Board appointee, Minister or Member of Parliament to appropriately respond to or participate in the relevant investigation; and

(b) the costs claimed have been calculated consistently with the applicable Crown Solicitor’s rates for private solicitor fees as published on the Attorney-General’s Department website from time to time; and

(c) in the case of costs associated with the briefing of Senior Counsel or Queen’s Counsel, and including where costs associated with the briefing of junior counsel in the same matter are also sought, the exceptional circumstances of the matter justify such expenditure; and

(d) in the case of costs associated with any review or appeal proceedings arising out of the relevant investigation instigated or joined by the Government employee, Government board appointee, Minister or Member of Parliament, the exceptional circumstances of the matter justify such expenditure; and

(e) any costs or expenses recovered by the Government employee, Government Board appointee, Minister or Member of Parliament from other sources have been appropriately deducted from the costs claimed; and

(f) the Government employee, Government Board appointee, Minister or Member of Parliament has provided all information reasonably requested to allow the costs claimed to be assessed in accordance with this Policy.

(2) The amount to be reimbursed under this Policy shall include GST on the legal costs to be reimbursed if the Government employee, Government Board appointee, Minister or Member of Parliament or, in the case of a Government employee, their union or professional association, is not able to recover the GST as an input tax credit.

5—Procedure for reimbursement

(1) In the event that it is necessary for the Ombudsman to authorise the provision of information to another person for the purposes of this Policy, the Government employee, Government Board appointee, Minister or Member of Parliament will seek that authorisation as appropriate.

(2) A Government employee, Government Board appointee, Minister or Member of Parliament seeking reimbursement of legal fees in accordance with this Policy must—

(a) obtain as soon as practicable the necessary written agreement from the Crown Solicitor as required by clause 3(b); and

(b) await the finalisation of the relevant investigation (unless seeking an interim payment in accordance with this Policy); and

(c) submit a written claim for certification of the reasonableness of the costs for reimbursement to the Crown Solicitor, including—

(i) an assignment of rights (as contemplated by clause 3(e)) in a form approved by the Crown Solicitor; and

(ii) all relevant information in support of the eligibility of the claim pursuant to this Policy, including any additional information reasonably requested by the Crown Solicitor.

(3) If the costs claimed (or part thereof) are certified as reasonable, the Crown Solicitor will forward the claim to the Attorney-General (or their nominee) for finalisation of the claim.

6—Interim payments

(1) Prior to the finalisation of a relevant ICAC investigation, a Government employee, Government Board appointee, Minister or Member of Parliament may be reimbursed on an interim basis for costs they have incurred associated with their engagement of an independent legal practitioner, where—

(a) the Government employee, Government Board appointee, Minister or Member of Parliament enters into a legally enforceable agreement with appropriate security for repayment of any reimbursement in the event that a material adverse finding against the Government employee, Government Board appointee, Minister or Member of Parliament is later made as a result of the relevant proceedings or investigation; and

(b) the criteria for reimbursement set out in this Policy are otherwise satisfied.

(2) A Government employee, Government Board appointee, Minister or Member of Parliament seeking an interim payment of legal fees must do so in accordance with the procedure for reimbursement set out in this Policy.

(3) A refusal by the Attorney-General (or their nominee) to approve an interim payment does not prevent a Government employee, Government Board appointee, Minister or Member of Parliament from seeking reimbursement in accordance with this Policy following the finalisation of the relevant investigation.

(4) If the Crown Solicitor certifies that costs in excess of $100 000 are likely to be incurred by a Government employee, Government Board appointee, Minister or Member of Parliament in respect of a relevant investigation, the Attorney-General must not refuse to approve interim payments on the making of an application in accordance with the requirements of this clause.

This is consequential to amendment No. 34.

Amendment carried.

The Hon. F. PANGALLO: I move:

Amendment No 36 [Pangallo–2]—

Page 60, lines 15 to 20 [Schedule 1, clause 42(10), inserted subsection (4)]—Delete ‘in respect of an investigation by the Commission or the Inspector under the Independent Commission Against Corruption Act 2012 if the Committee is satisfied that such an inquiry would assist the Committee to understand any matters of public policy that might arise in the circumstances’ and substitute:

by the Commission or the Inspector under the Independent Commission Against Corruption Act 2012

This amendment removes the proposed power of the Crime and Public Integrity Policy Committee to inquire into particular investigations and makes it a more general power.

The Hon. R.I. LUCAS: This is an important amendment from the government’s viewpoint in relation to the original drafting of the bill. Whether intended or otherwise, the original drafting of the bill would have allowed the parliamentary committee to require the production of documents from the commission whilst an investigation was occurring. In the government’s view, that was not something that we could support.

This particular provision, in essence, caters for a different set of arrangements. It does not allow for the production of documents during a particular investigation by the commission. Clearly, that would not be appropriate, in our view, whilst an investigation was being conducted by the commission. As the honourable member has indicated, there is a more general power there which is now provided for in the proposed amendment to the bill.

Amendment carried.

The Hon. F. PANGALLO: I move:

Amendment No 37 [Pangallo–2]—

Page 66, lines 7 to 18 [Schedule 1, clauses 66 and 67]—Delete clauses 66 and 67 and substitute:

66—OPI organisational structure

Until the day fixed by the Minister by notice in the Gazette (which must be not more than 3 months after the commencement of this Act), the Minister may appoint either the Commissioner under the Independent Commission Against Corruption Act 2012 or another person (on terms and conditions determined by the Minister) to act as the Director of OPI under that Act (as amended by this Act).

67—Staff

(1) On the commencement of this Act—

(a) employees engaged by the Commissioner under section 12 of the Independent Commissioner Against Corruption Act 2012 (including any employees assigned to the Office under section 18(3)(a) of the Act) will be taken to be engaged by the Commission under that section as amended by this Act; and

(b) arrangements established by the Commissioner under section 13 of the Independent Commissioner Against Corruption Act 2012 will be taken to continue as if they were arrangements established by the Commission under that section as amended by this Act; and

(c) Public Service employees assigned to the Office under section 18(3)(a) of the Independent Commissioner Against Corruption Act 2012 will be taken to continue to be assigned to the Office under section 17(2)(b) of the Independent Commission Against Corruption Act 2012).

(2) Despite section 17(2) of the Independent Commission Against Corruption Act 2012, the Independent Commission against Corruption and the Director of OPI may enter into an arrangement for the continued assignment of employees who were, immediately before the commencement of this Act, assigned to the Office under section 18(3)(b) of the Independent Commissioner Against Corruption Act 2012.

67A—Investigations etc to continue

(1) Subject to this clause, the Independent Commissioner Against Corruption Act 2012 as in force before the commencement of this Act continues to apply in relation to any complaint or report made under that Act on or before 25 August 2021, or any investigation commenced under that Act before 25 August 2021.

(2) The following provisions of the Independent Commission Against Corruption Act 2012 as amended by this Act apply in relation to a matter referred to in subclause (1):

(a) section 6;

(b) section 59A and Schedule 5 (but only in respect of legal expenses incurred after commencement of section 59A and, in relation to a matter involving suspected misconduct or maladministration in public administration, as if Schedule 1 of the Ombudsman Act 1972, as inserted by this Act and with any necessary modifications, applied instead of Schedule 5).

(3) If a matter that continues to be dealt with under the Independent Commissioner Against Corruption Act 2012 as in force before the commencement of this Act in accordance with subclause (1) is not completed within 12 months after the commencement of this clause, the matter must be discontinued (but nothing prevents the matter being the subject of a further complaint or report under the Independent Commission Against Corruption Act 2012, or the Ombudsman Act 1972, as amended by this Act).

67B—Complaints and reporting system

(1) The complaints system established under section 18, and the reporting system established under section 19, of the Independent Commissioner Against Corruption Act 2012 as in force before the commencement of this Act continue as the complaints system under section 18A and the reporting system under section 18B (respectively) of the Independent Commission Against Corruption Act 2012 as in force after the commencement of this Act until new systems can be established under those sections (subject to any modifications that are necessary or are prescribed by the regulations).

(2) Section 18A(3) of the Independent Commission Against Corruption Act 2012 as in force after the commencement of this Act does not apply for the period of 3 months after the commencement of this Act.

(3) The complaints system established under section 18, and the reporting system established under section 19, of the Independent Commissioner Against Corruption Act 2012 as in force before the commencement of this Act may be adopted, on the commencement of this Act, by the Ombudsman as the complaints system under section 12A and the reporting system under section 12D (respectively) of the Ombudsman Act 1972 as in force after the commencement of this Act until new systems can be established under those sections (subject to any modifications that are necessary or are prescribed by the regulations).

(4) Section 12A(3) of the Ombudsman Act 1972 as in force after the commencement of this Act does not apply for the period of 3 months after the commencement of this Act.

67C—Websites

Despite section 48 of the Independent Commission Against Corruption Act 2012 as in force after the commencement of this Act, the websites referred to in that section are not required immediately on the commencement of that section but must be developed as soon as practicable (and in any case within 6 months after the commencement of that section).

67D—Inspector under Ombudsman Act 1972

The operation of section 29 of the Ombudsman Act 1972 (as inserted by this Act) is suspended until the day on which section 57 of this Act comes into operation.

This amendment is to replace clauses 66 and 67 with new clauses which are as follows.

Proposed clause 66 is that the OPI continues in existence under the bill, but this allows for an acting appointment of the director, pending a recruitment process. An acting appointee can be the commissioner or someone else.

Proposed clause 67 allows current staffing arrangements to continue. Proposed clause 67A allows all current matters to continue to be dealt with in accordance with the current act for 12 months. The amended parliamentary privilege provision and new legal cost provisions, however, will apply to these continuing matters.

Proposed clause 67B allows the current systems to continue until new systems can be put in place. Proposed clause 67C allows time for the development of new websites. Proposed clause 67D is consequential to the new commencement provision under which section 67 will commence later by proclamation.

The Hon. R.I. LUCAS: These two are important amendments in terms of ultimately ensuring the government was able to support the bill with amendments, in particular new clause 67A, which allows investigations to continue. Should there be a view from anyone out there that in this way this was some sort of protection racket for either members of parliament or ministers or, indeed, public officers, if there are existing investigations that are being conducted, that they are able to continue under the terms set out in this particular amendment, and the commission in particular has a period of 12 months to be able to conclude those investigations.

This new clause 67A makes it quite clear that any existing inquiry or investigation into either a minister, a member of parliament or a public officer is able to continue, and obviously that is a matter for the commission. There is an important issue there, too, in terms of clarification. It is not just whether an investigation or inquiry has started. In essence, if a complaint has been lodged with the various integrity bodies is the starting point, then the commission has a 12-month period within which to conclude her investigations at the moment.

Again, I repeat a statement that I think the Hon. Ms Franks made earlier: this is not designed to be a protection racket for ministers, members of parliament or, indeed, public officers because it applies to us all. It ensures that the existing arrangements will be able to continue, and then the new provisions will apply for new issues, but it will allow any existing issues to be further considered and concluded under the existing arrangements.

The Hon. K.J. MAHER: I just want to make a brief contribution. I think it is important to state what I think is the joint understanding by all members of this provision. I am sure if anyone has a different understanding, they will correct me. As the Treasurer said, it is not just in relation to any investigation that has commenced, but it is any complaint or report made under this act on or before 25 August.

It is envisaged that this would capture anything that has been reported under the operations of the Independent Commissioner Against Corruption Act regardless of whether an investigation was actually started, regardless of what the ICAC has done with that complaint—whether it has referred it somewhere else, to another integrity agency, or not started investigation—as the new clause 67A says, as long as there has been a complaint or report, it can still be continued and will be still continued under the act as it applies prior to any amendments we make in this bill. As it goes on, there is a 12-month time limit in which that investigation is to be completed. That is sensible so that you do not have the possibility of two different schemes, essentially, running forever.

It is important, also, that if that is not completed within the 12-month period it does not prohibit any further investigation. It simply means that has to be started under the provisions of the new act. I think the transitional provision here is a particularly important part, that anything that has effectively been referred to an integrity agency—and ICAC in particular—reported or complained to on or before 25 August continues on under the old scheme and the provisions of the old scheme.

The Hon. T.A. FRANKS: I reiterate my comments from before that this is in no way a move that will diminish the current proceedings. Where members of parliament in particular are concerned, what we do tonight is in no way a protection racket. We seek to improve the act going forward. I think it was a very important part of the discussions outside this chamber to bring quite an extensive set of amendments to the bill and this is one of them. Certainly, the Greens would not have copped any MPs being let off the hook in terms of corruption.

Amendment carried.

The Hon. F. PANGALLO: I move:

Amendment No 38 [Pangallo–2]—

Page 66, line 22 [Schedule 1 clause 68]—Delete ‘this Act may be continued after the commencement of this Act’ and substitute:

section 57 may be continued after the commencement of that section

This is consequential to the new commencement provision.

Amendment carried.

The Hon. F. PANGALLO: I move:

Amendment No 39 [Pangallo–2]—

Page 66, lines 28 and 29 [Schedule 1 clause 69]—Delete ‘this clause’ and substitute:

section 57

This is consequential to the new commencement provision.

Amendment carried.

The Hon. F. PANGALLO: I move:

Amendment No 40 [Pangallo–2]—

Page 66, lines 33 to 42 [Schedule 1, clause 69(2) and (3)]—Delete subclauses (2) and (3) and substitute:

(2) If the Inspector finds that undue prejudice to the reputation of any person was caused by the Commissioner, employees of the Commissioner or employees of the Office, the Inspector may—

(a) publish any statement or material that the Inspector thinks will help to alleviate that prejudice; or

(b) recommend that the Commission pay an amount of compensation to the person.

(3) The Inspector may also make recommendations to the Attorney General in relation to the making of ex gratia payments as reimbursement of legal costs incurred by persons the subject of, or required to participate in, any investigation under the Independent Commissioner Against Corruption Act 2012 (being costs incurred before the commencement of section 59A of the Independent Commission Against Corruption Act 2012 (as inserted by this Act).

This is an amendment to clause 69. Proposed subclause (2) is consequential to amendments to the inspector provisions in the ICAC Act. Proposed subclause (3) allows the inspector to consider historical costs, claims and make recommendations. Again, I will briefly say that this is quite important because it enables the inspector to also look at past cases involving the ICAC, going back from the time that ICAC started operating.

Amendment carried.

The Hon. F. PANGALLO: I move:

Amendment No 41 [Pangallo–2]—

Page 67, line 2 [Schedule 1, clause 70]—After ‘amended by this Act’ insert:

(including under the Independent Commission Against Corruption Act 2012 as in force after the commencement of this Act)

This amendment to clause 70 ensures that additional transitional regulations could be made.

Amendment carried; schedule as amended passed.

Title passed.

Bill reported with amendment.

Third Reading

The Hon. F. PANGALLO (20:48): I move:

That this bill be now read a third time.

I will speak briefly to the bill, just to sum it up. This bill is quite a significant bill. It is intended to reform the current integrity agency landscape in South Australia to improve their operation, transparency and accountability to the South Australian community and the public, who need to have the highest levels of trust and reliance on these key agencies.

I want to thank every member who has contributed to this bill and to the amendments. I would like to thank you, Mr Acting Chairman, for your input over the last, I think, 2½ years that we have been discussing this, perhaps the last three years since I became a member of the Crime and Public Integrity Policy Committee, of which you are a past chairman. We certainly shared similar views on the operations of integrity agencies in South Australia and what needed to be done, and I thank you for your support and encouragement in continuing our journey to get to this point this evening.

I thank the honourable Leader of the Opposition, the Hon. Rob Lucas and the other members I have already mentioned—Dan Cregan, member for Kavel, and Steve Murray, member for Davenport—who have also assisted in doing a lot of the heavy lifting in ensuring that we have come to an incredible position here in the parliament. I also thank the Hon. Tammy Franks for her great contribution earlier, as well as the Hon. Robert Simms.

It is quite illuminating to see that this has multiparty, multipartisan, support. It is had the support of every member in this chamber, and I thank every member for the way they have looked at this legislation and the proposed amendments. It was not an easy task, putting this together, and I have to tell the chamber that it would have been a pretty difficult task if I had not had assistance from people like Mr Cregan and Mr Murray, as well as parliamentary counsel, as I mentioned before, and also the valuable input we have had from all members who have taken a strong interest in this matter. The input has been invaluable.

I want to reiterate what the Hon. Tammy Franks said. To have members in this place be accused of running a protection racket for themselves is galling. That was never the intention of the reforms in this bill. To see the criticisms that have been levelled at this place and at these members I find quite disturbing, to be honest. Every member who has had a look at this bill or who has contributed to this bill has done so in a manner that is not biased in any way. It is not about trying to ensure that the integrity bodies do not come after us.

What we have taken into account here is not only the integrity of the integrity agencies, which is what we are doing, but also so that the public can actually have confidence in these agencies, that they are doing the work they are doing and justifying the enormous expense. As the Hon. Rob Lucas pointed out earlier, it costs a lot of money to run these matters.

It is quite alarming when you see cases front the courts and hear the prosecutors get up and say, ‘We don’t have a case.’ What? After something like three or four years of investigations involving all manner of expenses being incurred, not to mention the expenses and stress placed on defendants over that period of time, to then front a court and say, ‘We’re not ready,’ or, ‘We can’t proceed,’ or, ‘We haven’t got a case, you have to come back,’ is just not acceptable—it just is not.

We also need to take into account those who have gone through the process and have come out either being found not guilty or being acquitted. There is one matter that has come before our committee, where the person in question was not even interviewed by the ICAC. It was just the fact that he was being looked at by ICAC. He was never interviewed and he then had to front court and was told that the matter against him had been withdrawn, and he had to live through all that.

On top of that, of course, he has incurred enormous legal expenses and he still has expenses that are owed to him, and they have not been paid to him. Again, it just shows that there is a lot of unfairness for those who are dragged into the system and have been shown to be innocent in this matter.

As I said, I am not a lawyer, I am not a QC, I am not a judge or whatever, but if you go to court, you are charged with something and you are found not guilty or you are acquitted, I think you have every expectation that when you walk out of that courtroom you are an innocent person. However, we are told that that is not the case, that everybody is not innocent at all. There must be something, that you have to carry some kind of guilt, and just because a jury did not find you guilty, that does not mean you did not do anything. It is extraordinary.

At a recent meeting of the select committee into reputational harm and damage, a senior police officer from the Anti-Corruption Branch tried to argue the point that just because the jury were hung on a number of charges or a number of accusations against a number of police officers, the reason they were hung means that for 50 per cent they were guilty, that it was half and half, and the jury was unsure as to whether they were guilty or not, so 50 per cent felt they might have been guilty.

That was a crazy assumption by a senior police officer. It could well be they were hung on it, perhaps because they were not even convinced that there was any evidence on it and did not know where to go. But for a police officer to then say that they could easily have taken that stuff but the jury could not decide—so half the jury were undecided, half the jury were decided—is just absolutely ludicrous.

I will just finish with this—and I have said this before—the stain of an ICAC corruption is very difficult to remove. We have seen that. Compared with any other offences of people who go through the courts, the stain of corruption is one of the most difficult to remove. I think that tonight we have certainly moved to make the process fairer for people. We have not diminished the power of ICAC or any integrity bodies. As has been pointed out, they are there to concentrate on corruption.

I do not know whether the commissioner has seen the raft of amendments that we have moved tonight. She may have a different point of view after viewing these as to what we are doing. What we have done here tonight, as I said, is make the ICAC a more streamlined organisation that can focus on what it was intended to do, and that is to find corruption. If the current commissioner thinks that what we are doing will cripple them, I think that perhaps she has a fear that her bureaucracy may well be shrunk and that she may not have enough work to do.

Nonetheless, it does not detract from the fact that they are still there, they still have the same powers—very powerful, coercive powers—to try to root out corruption. Again, thank you to all the members who have contributed. I look forward to the passage of this bill in the House of Assembly.

Bill read a third time and passed.