ICAC to hold forum on pork barrelling

Tuesday 31 May 2022

The NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) will hold a forum on Friday 3 June 2022 to examine the practice of pork barrelling, including whether it is lawful and ethical, and whether it could constitute corrupt conduct under the Independent Commission Against Corruption Act 1988.

The forum, to be hosted by Chief Commissioner the Hon Peter Hall QC, will discuss whether:

  • the practice of pork barrelling is lawful or unlawful, and whether it is ethical
  • the conduct associated with the practice of pork barrelling could constitute corrupt conduct under the provisions of the ICAC Act
  • ministerial discretionary power in relation to grant funding is at large, or whether it is subject to constraints and conditions by operation of the Rule of Law and, if so, the circumstances in which constraints or conditions exist or operate.

In relation to the third point above, the panel will also canvass whether regulation of grant funding programs by statutory instrument is necessary to ensure, in the public interest, that public monies are only expended for public purposes, and the safeguards that are necessary in the public interest to prevent breaches of public trust arising in the course of such programs.

The panel will be moderated by prominent journalist and author Kerry O’Brien and, in addition to Chief Commissioner Hall, will comprise subject matter experts including:

  • Professor Anne Twomey, Professor of Constitutional Law and Director, Constitutional Reform Unit, University of Sydney
  • the Hon Joseph Campbell, Adjunct Professor at the University of Sydney and former judge of the NSW Court of Appeal
  • Dr Simon Longstaff AO, Director of the Ethics Centre and Adjunct Professor of the Australian Graduate School of Management at the University of NSW
  • NSW Deputy Auditor General Ian Goodwin
  • Professor AJ Brown, leader of the Centre for Governance & Public Policy’s public integrity and anti-corruption research program, and professor of public policy and law in the School of Government & International Relations, Griffith University.

As the Commission is ultimately accountable to the NSW Parliament, the forum will be held at a room in Parliament House, commencing at 10.00 am, and will run for approximately three hours. It will be live streamed and will be accessible from the Commission’s website at www.icac.nsw.gov.au.

Following the forum, the ICAC will prepare and issue a report setting out its views on pork barrelling, including whether and how it relates to corrupt conduct, in due course. Transcript and video of the forum discussion are also intended to be made available.