The Independent Member for Denison, Andrew Wilkie, will join Geoffrey Watson SC, former counsel assisting the NSW ICAC, to launch a report by the Australia Institute that finds that Tasmania’s Integrity Commission is the weakest in the country.
“It’s essential that the community has faith in the institutions of government,” Mr Wilkie said. “And key to that is an effective, well-resourced anti-corruption watchdog like the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption.”
“Until we have a federal anti-corruption commission, state and territory bodies are the best we’ve got. But alarmingly, this report by the Australia Institute finds that Tasmania in fact has the weakest anti-corruption body in the country.
“For example, the definition of ‘corrupt conduct’ in the Tasmanian legislation is very narrow, limited just to the conduct of public officers and excluding any conduct relating to the proceedings of Parliament.
“Tasmania’s Integrity Commission also has limited powers to assess and investigate matters when compared to other jurisdictions. And over the period the report looks at, the Integrity Commission never once referred someone to the Director of Public Prosecutions, never made a corrupt conduct finding, and never even held a public hearing.
“On the other hand we should more like New South Wales, which has much greater and broader investigative powers and in fact made 123 corrupt conduct findings over the same period.
“There has obviously been a corruption of proper process on many occasions in Tasmania’s recent history, for instance the appalling approval process for the Gunns Tamar River pulp mill and more recently the way some firms wield disproportionate political influence. Moreover the unresolved issue of Deputy Premier Kevin Lyons’ momentous and unexpected resignation from Parliament points to the possibility of criminal corruption in the not-too-recent past. No wonder many members of the community, including me, believe there is much improper conduct going on at the official level in Tasmania.
“What’s more a recent poll found that 85 per cent of Tasmanians think that the Integrity Commission should be given more powers. The evidence is in and it’s time the Government, and the alternative government, to listen.”