Corruption and Integrity Update – the CCC under the spotlight

28 February 2022
Daniel Maroske, Director, Brisbane Angela Szczepanski, Director, Brisbane

There has been a significant focus by the media on Queensland public sector integrity issues over the past month. Most notably, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has announced both a Commission of Inquiry into the Queensland’s anti-corruption body, the Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC), as well as a review into culture and accountability in the public sector.

CCC Commission of Inquiry

On 31 January 2022, the Premier announced that a Commission of Inquiry would commence into various aspects of operation of the CCC. The Honourable Tony Fitzgerald AC QC was appointed Chairperson and retired Supreme Court Judge, the Honourable Alan Wilson QC, as Commissioner for the Inquiry.

The Inquiry follows the publication of a report by the Parliamentary Crime and Corruption Committee examining the CCC’s investigation and decision to charge eight former Logan City councillors with fraud. The report recommended that an Inquiry be established to review the CCC’s structure and function as an investigator and prosecutor, as well as its use of seconded police officers at the CCC.

With the Inquiry announcing it will soon be calling for public submissions, it is more important than ever to review how your organisation might wish to prepare for and respond to an inquiry.  There are a number of practical considerations an organisation should be mindful of when engaging with an inquiry, including the use of extraordinary powers to compel evidence, the ability to claim various privileges, and how engagement may (or may not) engage your insurance arrangements.

Public Sector Inquiry Review

Given the spotlight on the Queensland public sector following the resignations of the CCC Chair, the Queensland Integrity Commissioner and the concerns raised by the former Queensland State Archivist, on 18 February 2022, Premier Palaszczuk appointed Professor Peter Coaldrake AO to conduct a review into the culture and accountability within Queensland’s public service agencies and entities. The Premier has advised that the review “would have the power to make system-wide changes” and will be examining six key areas:

  • the culture of the public service in ensuring ethical decision making and impartial advice to the Executive;
  • the nature of interactions and interdependencies between integrity bodies, the public service and the Executive;
  • legislation underpinning the existing ethics and integrity framework;
  • adequacy of systems to prevent ethical, accountability and integrity issues arising;
  • adequacy of ethics training and communication and relevant policies; and
  • timeliness of processes to resolve ethical and integrity complaints.

While the report of the findings from the review is intended to be provided within four months, an interim report is anticipated to be provided within two months. Both reports will be made available to the public.

At Gadens, we have extensive experience assisting clients in forming submissions, responding to notices, drafting witness statements, and preparing individuals for attendance at hearings arising from Commissions of Inquiry and industry reviews. We regularly present to clients on this area, including a recent entitled “Are you Royal Commission Ready?”

Please don’t hesitate to contact Daniel Maroske, Director or Angela Szczepanski, Director should you require any assistance in relation to the upcoming Commission of Inquiry or review or if you would like to arrange a presentation on these topics with your organisation.

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Authored by: 

Daniel Maroske, Director
Angela Szczepanski, Director

This update does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. It is intended only to provide a summary and general overview on matters of interest and it is not intended to be comprehensive. You should seek legal or other professional advice before acting or relying on any of the content.

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