Following the 2010 election the Victorian Government sought to establish:
- a broad-based anti-corruption commission, modelled on world’s best practice in other jurisdictions.
The objective of the policy was to create a broad-based anti-corruption commission (IBAC) ‘modelled most closely on New South Wales’ Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC)’ which was intended to be a ‘“one-stop shop”, fighting corruption across the entire public sector’.
The policy anticipated that ‘IBAC will work cooperatively with the Auditor- General and the Ombudsman to provide a seamless coverage of the range of integrity issues from probity and maladministration to corruption’.
The policy also stated that ‘the exception powers’ to be provided to IBAC (which were intended to include telephone interceptions, covert surveillance and controlled operations) ‘demand that there be strong oversight as a check on potential abuse’. This oversight was to be provided by a Parliamentary Joint Committee which would monitor IBAC and an inspector ‘appointed by the Governor to audit the operations of IBAC in order to monitor compliance with the law and to deal with complaints of abuse of power and other forms of misconduct through reports and recommendations’.
In addition, a Joint Standing Parliamentary Committee on Government Integrity was to be established ‘to provide oversight of … [the Auditor-General and the Ombudsman] and guarantee them a permanent voice in Parliament’.
The IBAC implementation has involved the enactment of six Acts of Parliament, some of which are not yet operative, with two further Bills which are currently before the Legislative Council.
The Ombudsman prepared this report to advise the Parliament and, in particular the Legislative Council, of his concerns regarding the two Bills currently before that House so as to allow the Legislative Council to make informed decisions when considering those Bills.