Commission for law enforcement should have deputy: committee report

By Tom Ravlic

April 1, 2022

parliament house, canberra
A new government needs to ensure its personnel are aligned with a new vision. (Randal/Adobe)

The Australian Commission for Law Enforcement must have a deputy commissioner appointed so that the work of the commission can continue without having to draw on the resource of other integrity, a new report from the Parliamentary Joint Committee on the Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity says.

Committee members made one solitary recommendation in the report, which is one of many committee reports being released before parliament rises, related to the creation of a new position when it was made clear to committee members that the integrity commissioner has nobody to delegate to within their agency if they are absent for an extended period.

The commission was set up in 2006 to help detect, investigate, and prosecute corrupt conduct within law enforcement agencies.

It also has a role to prevent corrupt conduct in law enforcement agencies with another role to “maintain and improve” the integrity of staff members across law enforcement.

Commissioner Jaala Hinchcliffe told the committee that the growth in the size of the agency and an increase in its jurisdiction made it important for the government to consider the appointment of a deputy.

This would mean there would be less of a need for the deputies working for either the inspector-general of intelligence and security, the Office of the Commonwealth Ombudsman or the Office of the Information Commissioner when the commissioner of the Australian Commission for Law Enforcement is absent for more than five days.

“The committee considers it is more suitable to have a deputy integrity commissioner acting in the integrity commissioner’s absence rather than external stakeholders,” the committee’s report says.

The integrity commissioner’s jurisdiction has increased over the past two years. The office was first tasked with overseeing the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission, the Australian Federal Police, the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre; parts of the Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment, and the Department of Home Affairs, incorporating oversight of the Australian Border Force.

Change to the office’s remit became effective on 1 January 2021 and this meant the office also had to deal with issues related to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, and the Australian Taxation Office.


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