Integrity commissioner’s departing serve continues to reverberate

The Tasmanian parliament resumed Tuesday, unable to avoid the blistering bipartisan critique from the state’s former integrity commissioner. A bill is being put forward to criminalise misuse of public office, which would bring it in line with the other states.

The Tasmanian Greens are trying to highlight the government’s hostile attitude to the state’s integrity commission by forcing it to vote against making abuse of public office a crime, as it is everywhere else in Australia.

State parliament resumes today and the Greens will introduce a bill to criminalise “misuse of public office” —¬†covering all government employees. As legislation, it is doomed by the government’s absolute majority in the lower house, regardless of Labor’s position, but should serve to keep alive the extraordinary comments made by respected former integrity commissioner Murray Kellam QC.

Murray Kellam

Murray Kellam

Kellam, whose term officially ended on Sunday, says “powerful interests” in the state’s government and public service have worked against the commission from day one. “Those interests have sought to limit the Commission’s work by reducing its budget, calling for removal of its investigative functions, not remedying its deficient legislation, and by not supporting its work,” he wrote in a public statement.

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