Tuesday 29 November 2011

Hansard of the Legislative Council


Mr FINCH (Rosevears)) - I want to make a short contribution about this bill that makes substantial amendments to the Integrity Commission Act 2009. I will not speculate on the departure of the CEO, but it is essential that the powers of the CEO and the commission be enhanced and not restricted. The provision in this bill for own-motion investigations is essential. Government and local government authorities and agencies may have been able to frustrate the work of the commission up until now as the commissioners had to rely on a complaint before being able to commence an investigation. The amendments do not restrict a person or organisation under investigation from seeing legal advice. Disclosures by a client to a solicitor already protected by solicitor-client relationships are probably enhanced by the amendments as to privacy. The proposed amendments do not appear to give the commission any Star Chamber powers. It is probably likely that further amendments will need to be made, including the further defining of the powers of the CEO. The bill further enhances the ability of the commission to discharge its responsibilities under the act, so I support the bill.