Inspector's Functions and Powers
The Inspector's functions and powers are set out in Part 5A of the Independent Commission Against Corruption Act 1988 (ICAC Act). In summary the Inspector may:
- investigate any aspect of the ICACs operations or any conduct of ICAC officers;
- request have full access to the records of the ICAC and to take or have copies made of any of them;
- require ICAC officers to produce documents or attend before him to answer questions;
- investigate and assess complaints about the ICAC or its officers;
- refer matters concerning the ICAC or its officers to other public authorities or public officials for consideration or action; and
- recommend disciplinary action or criminal prosecution against ICAC officers.
Section 57D provides that the Inspector may hold inquiries as a Royal Commissioner. This means that he can compel witnesses to give evidence and that, for the purposes of any inquiry conducted as a Royal Commissioner, the Inspector has the powers, authorities, protections and immunities conferred on a commissioner by the Royal Commissions Act 1923.
Section 57E provides that the Inspector can employ staff under the Public Sector Employment and Management Act 2002 or as consultants. The Inspector can also arrange for the use of staff from the ICAC, any government department or a local or public authority.
Section 57F provides for the Inspector to do all things necessary to be done for, or in connection with, or reasonably incidental to, the exercise of the Inspectors functions.
Section 57G makes it clear that the Inspector's functions and powers apply in respect of current as well as former ICAC officers.
Other Relevant Legislation
Under section 57D of the ICAC Act the Inspector may sit as a Royal Commissioner to make or hold inquiries into any complaints which he is dealing with. If the Inspector holds inquiries as a Royal Commissioner he has the powers, authorities, protections and immunities conferred on a commissioner by Division 1 of Part 2 of the Royal Commissions Act 1923. As a Royal Commissioner the Inspector can compel witnesses to co-operate with him and answer questions.
Section 12C (1) of the Protected Disclosures Act 1994 provides that a disclosure made by a public official to the Inspector will only be considered as a protected disclosure if it is made in accordance with the ICAC Act and is a disclosure that shows or tends to show corrupt conduct, maladministration or serious and substantial waste of money by the ICAC, an officer of the ICAC or an officer of the ICAC Inspector.
Section 12C (2) provides that to be protected by the Protected Disclosures Act 1994, a disclosure by a public official to an investigating authority (being the Auditor-General or the Ombudsman) concerning the ICAC or an officer of the ICAC must relate to a matter referred by the Inspector to the investigating authority under 57C (f) of the ICAC Act.
Section 12C (3) and (4) provide that the Ombudsman may investigate and report, in accordance with the Ombudsman Act 1974, on any matter raised by a disclosure made to it concerning the exercise of a function relating to a matter of administration by the Inspector, which shows or tends to show that the Inspector has engaged or proposes to engage in corrupt conduct or maladministration. Such a disclosure will be considered to be a protected disclosure.
There are two permanent public sector staff employed in the Inspector's office. These are the Executive Officer and the Office Manager. Both positions are are employed under the Public Sector Employment and Management Act 2002 and have all the rights, entitlements and obligations which flow under that Act.
As of 1 July 2010 the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 No. 52 (the GIPA Act) replaced the Freedom of Information Act 1989.
Section 20 of the GIPA Act requires an agency to provide a publication guide.
Schedules 1 and 2 of the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 No. 52 provides that the Office of the Inspector of the ICAC is exempt from providing documents concerning the Inspector's statutory functions namely, operational auditing, complaint handling, investigative and report functions.
The Inspector is an eligible authority for the purposes of this Act. The Inspector provides an annual report to the Commonwealth Attorney General's Department about use of any telephone intercepts pursuant to the relevant provisions of the Act. To date the Inspector has not used any telephone intercepts under this Act.