Corruption Matters - October 2017 - Issue 48

A word from the Chief Commissioner

By the Hon Peter Hall QC

It is my pleasure to write to you for the first time as the Chief Commissioner of the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption. As many of you know, I was recently appointed to this role, and am honoured to be working alongside Commissioners Patricia McDonald SC and Stephen Rushton SC and a team of highly skilled and dedicated staff. The Commissioners and I are pleased to be able to bring our diverse knowledge and experience to the ICAC, which is an extremely important institution

Commissioners McDonald, Rushton and I have come to the ICAC at a very significant period in its life. Over recent times, the ICAC and its activities have been subject to a lot of public commentary. The ICAC has also been subject to major changes, most recently brought about by the Independent Commission Against Corruption Amendment Act 2016.

New model

These changes include the establishment of the three-commissioner model; that is, a Chief Commissioner (myself) and two part-time Commissioners (Commissioners McDonald and Rushton), all of whom may exercise the functions of the ICAC. Based on our admittedly short time in office, we have every reason to believe that the new model will work extremely well.  

We are heartened to know that we are working with people of considerable experience, and considerable skill and ability. Every organisation, of course, needs to have good communication. As the new Commissioners, we are pursuing a system that will encourage direct communication with our own staff, and with similar external agencies around the country to examine their practices and procedures.

This will help us to ensure that we understand and can monitor how our processes are working and will assist in considering where change or innovation is appropriate and, if it is, how that should be achieved. I will use this newsletter and other publications to report on any changes to the organisation and procedures of the ICAC.

Results from 2016–17

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Hon Reginald Blanch AM QC, who so competently acted in the role of Commissioner for the majority of the last financial period and oversaw the outcomes contained within the 2016–17 annual report.

In that period, the ICAC received 2,489 matters, commenced 27 preliminary investigations and 10 full investigations, and conducted 69 compulsory examinations and two public inquiries. Serious corrupt conduct findings were made against 11 people, and the ICAC recommended that the advice of the Director of Public Prosecutions be sought with respect to the prosecution of 17 people for various offences.

On the corruption prevention side, 106 presentations and training workshops were delivered across NSW, reaching approximately 2,500 people face to face. We also produced three significant publications to address and help manage corruption risks in facilities maintenance, organisational change, and Aboriginal land council governance.

A copy of the 2016–17 annual report is available from the ICAC website.

Australia’s leading anti-corruption event

On 15 November this year, I will welcome speakers and delegates to the sixth Australian Public Sector Anti-Corruption Conference (APSACC) at The Westin in Sydney.

Over 70 international and local guest speakers will present over two days, with keynote presentations by US judge the Hon Mark L Wolf, the leading proponent of an international anti-corruption court, George Bokelberg, criminal investigator with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, UK cybercrime and cybersecurity expert Esther George, and Chris Currie from the US Accountability Office.

Since the inaugural conference in Sydney 10 years ago, APSACC has become a premier international anti-corruption conference. If you have yet to register, you can do so here.

For those able to attend, we hope you find the program inspiring and informative.

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