Discussion paper

Tasmania’s toothless watchdog: a comparison of the Tasmanian and NSW anti-corruption watchdogs

Government accountability Public servants Corruption Political corruption Tasmania New South Wales

Each state and territory, apart from the ACT, has an integrity commission. These bodies vary in design features and effectiveness, but in essence are designed to expose corruption and provide independent oversight of government. Currently there is no federal anti-corruption commission, or indeed any effective mechanism to ensure scrutiny of our federal parliamentarians or other federal public officials.

Public distrust of federal government is growing, with a recent poll by The Australia Institute finding 85% of Australians believe there is corruption in federal politics.

At a state level, recent polling in the electorate of Bass found 85% support for giving the Tasmanian Integrity Commission stronger powers and more resources.

This report compares the design and effectiveness of the NSW and Tasmanian anticorruption commissions, and distils the key design features that are critical to a commission’s success.

It finds that key features, including the threshold to begin investigations, the definition of corrupt conduct and the ability to conduct public hearings in the course of investigations, render the NSW ICAC far more effective than the Tasmanian IC.

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