This month’s edition of the Corruption and Integrity Update provides an update on the implementation of the recommendations arising out of the Coaldrake Report and considers recent developments in publicly-released integrity investigations. We also recap the progress towards a federal anti-corruption commission.
At the Economics and Governance Committee estimates hearing held on 26 July 2022, the Premier reiterated that the Queensland government has accepted all 14 of the recommendations from the Coaldrake Report, noting that it is a serious and welcome report.
The Premier indicated that Professor Coaldrake would be briefing Cabinet on 1 August 2022. Looking ahead, the Premier stated that once the recommendations are implemented, Queensland will have the “most transparent government in the country.” According to the Premier, the most significant change that is being adopted is the recommendation to release cabinet submissions within 30 business days and the government will be preparing legislation for introduction later this year to effect this change.
The Director-General of the Department of Justice & Attorney-General, who has been tasked with implementing the Coaldrake Report, will appear before the Legal Affairs & Safety Committee on 3 August 2022.
A recent decision published by the Councillor Conduct Tribunal (CCT) found that Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate engaged in misconduct pursuant to section 176(3)(b)(ii) of the Local Government Act 2009 (Qld) when, in 2015, he directed the former council chief executive to cease disciplinary proceedings against another City of Gold Coast employee.
The CCT report, which stated that ‘the misconduct was viewed so seriously that the Tribunal considered whether it ought to recommend to the minister that [Mr Tate] be suspended as Mayor,’ ordered Mr Tate to make a public admission as to his misconduct on his official Facebook page by 25 July and pay close to $3,500 in penalties.
Mr Tate has appealed the decision and applied for a stay through the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal.
Mr Malcolm Stamp, the former Chief Executive of Metro North Health and Hospital Service, has appeared at a committal hearing in the Brisbane Magistrates Court facing charges of corruptly receiving or soliciting valuable consideration to influence favour, making a false or misleading account and fraudulently producing a record. The charges arise from a previous investigation conducted by the Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC).
It is alleged that in 2014 Mr Stamp arranged for his daughter to be given a job, allegedly covering up the dishonest arrangement with false documents. The committal hearing continues.
With the opening of federal parliament, we may see further progress towards the introduction of a federal anti-corruption commission, which the Prime Minister has promised to deliver by the end of 2022. The Governor-General referred to the government’s mandate to create ‘a powerful, independent and transparent national anti-corruption commission’ that would be ‘an important addition to the integrity framework of this country.’
We will continue to monitor developments in the establishment of a Federal anti-corruption commission.
On 26 August 2022, we will be delivering a presentation on ‘Misconduct in Public Office’ alongside Mr Tony Glynn QC as part of Gadens’ ‘Government Lawyers Legal Update’ week. The webinar will explore recent developments in the corruption, misconduct, and integrity spaces and consider a recent case study. You can register to attend here.
We also recently delivered a presentation exploring the Coaldrake Report, including what the proposed actions may look like in practice, and how it is likely to impact the Queensland government going forward. Our presentation was recorded and can be accessed here: (The password is: ShiningaLight)
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Daniel Maroske, Director
Angela Szczepanski, Director
At Gadens, we have extensive experience assisting clients in responding to both CCC and OIA investigations and hearings.
Please don’t hesitate to contact Daniel Maroske, Director or Angela Szczepanski, Director should you require any assistance in matters involving the CCC/OIA or if you would like to arrange a presentation on investigations and hearings with your organisation.