Key terms

If you are following a matter that has gone to a public inquiry, some of the following may assist your understanding. The Glossary on this site also has additional definitions.

Compulsory examination
A hearing in aid of an ICAC investigation held in private, not for public attendance or notification.

Corrupt conduct, as defined in the Independent Commission Against Corruption Act 1988 ("the ICAC Act"), is deliberate or intentional wrongdoing, not negligence or a mistake. For further information see sections 7, 8 and 9 of the

Duty to disclose
A responsibility or agreement to disclose information that may be relevant in a decision-making process.

Operational matters
Everything the ICAC does as part of its investigative function, other than public inquiries, is referred to as operational. The ICAC does not publicly discuss or give out any information about operational matters. Disclosing operational matters could compromise investigative activity, and may unfairly damage the reputations of persons who are the subject of the complaint or referral.

Public authority
A public authority is defined in section 3 of the ICAC Act and can include:

  • a government department, administrative office or teaching service

  • a statutory body representing the Crown  

  • a local government authority

  • a body which keeps account of administration or working expenses under the Public Finance and Audit Act 1983, or over which the Auditor-General has authority.

In many cases it is quite obvious whether a particular body falls within the definition. There is also a wide range of other organisations which are also public authorities including state owned corporations, government trading enterprises and local councils.

Public inquiry
A hearing in aid of an ICAC investigation held in public.

Public official
A public official is defined in the ICAC Act as an individual having public official functions or acting in an official capacity. Public authority employees and individuals who are members of NSW Government boards and committees would be considered public officials. In some circumstances private contractors and consultants performing services for a public sector organisation could be considered public officials for the purposes of the ICAC Act. Public officials also include ministers, other members of the NSW Parliament, NSW local government councillors and NSW judges and magistrates.