The Victorian Government is attempting to pass a bill through the Legislative Council that will further weaken Victoria’s corruption watchdog IBAC. A briefing paper released today by the Australia Institute outlines the flaws in IBAC’s design and summarises the impact the bill will have on IBAC’s ability to hold public hearings.
IBAC is one of the weakest corruption watchdogs in the country. Limitations on its jurisdiction, investigative powers and ability to hold public hearings make it less effective than its counterparts in NSW, Queensland and Western Australia. It is now being weakened further by the Victorian Government, with an amending bill placing more restrictions on its ability to hold public hearings before the Legislative Council.
“IBAC is already one of the weakest corruption watchdogs in the country, and the state government is now trying to weaken it further,” former judge the Hon Stephen Charles AO QC said today.
“Public hearings are critical to investigating and exposing corruption. IBAC is already restrained in holding public hearings, and this new bill will make it more difficult. The government should instead be empowering IBAC to hold more public hearings, so that corruption can be properly exposed.”
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has said that the Federal Government has not ruled out the establishment of a federal corruption watchdog, and expressed preference for a federal body modelled on the design of Victoria’s Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission (IBAC).
“IBAC is not a suitable model for a federal corruption watchdog. The Federal Government should look to the model that the National Integrity Committee has prepared which takes the best parts of our strongest state corruption bodies,” Mr Charles said.
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