Vic gets on with corruption investigations, while feds still squabble

By Tom Ravlic

April 29, 2022

Robert Redlich
Victorian IBAC commissioner Robert Redlich. (AAP Image/James Ross)

Politicians at a national level are arguing what kind of model of an anti-corruption watchdog they will implement if they win office at the May election, while Victoria’s anti-corruption body has flagged the commencement of public hearings into alleged misconduct by a senior police officer.

Implementation of a national integrity commission is a key platform for independents standing in a range of seats currently held by Coalition MPs. The ALP has also promised to create an independent commission against corruption by Christmas, if elected.

The Coalition has continued to support its model, which has not yet been debated in parliament. Prime minister Scott Morrison says that at more than 300 pages of legislation, the model is comprehensive.

The Victorian body known as the Independent Broad-based Anticorruption Commission is getting on with its work, however, and will commence hearings on 3 May 2022 under Operation Bredbo.

It is an investigation taking a deep dive into allegations that a Victoria Police officer “exploited and misused their position as a police officer for reward to improperly influence people who were involved in commercial disputes or civil litigation”.

Hearings will also look at allegations the officer maintained inappropriate associations and relationships and misused police information.

A document outlining preliminary information and directions for the Operation Bredbo hearings states the inquiry will also look at “the circumstances surrounding any actual or potential personal benefits obtained by the Detective Sergeant of Victoria Police and/or other police personnel, their associates, resulting from, or otherwise in connection with, their misuse of their position or access to police information”.

IBAC commissioner Robert Redlich said one of the commission’s important tasks was to ensure independent oversight of the law-enforcement agency.

“Victorian communities place great trust in Victoria Police and rightly expect police officers to perform their duties and exercise their significant powers fairly, impartially and in accordance with the law,” Redlich said.

The commissioner and Stephen Farrow, the deputy commissioner, will both conduct the public hearings. They will be assisted by Catherine Boston and Sophie Molyneux from the Victorian Bar.

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