On 10 October 2017, the Rev. Fred Nile MLC spoke on the recently tabled Review of the 2014-2015 and 2015‑2016 annual reports of the ICAC Inspector of September this year. In particular, three recommendations in the report were highlighted. These addressed:

  1. The need for the development of procedural fairness guidelines for ICAC public inquiries.
  2. The development of a formal policy that concerns the manner in which people who are subject to an ICAC inquiry are advised.
  3. Calling on the Inspector of ICAC and the three-member Commission review the memorandum between the Inspector and ICAC.

Rev Nile makes the following additional comments:

  • “These are important recommendations that will reinforce public confidence in ICAC’s proceedings.”
  • “Procedural fairness is a subset of natural justice, and an institution like ICAC should follow in its best traditions.”
  • “It is only reasonable that people who are subject to ICAC investigations are not left in the lurch, but find out about decisions as soon as practicably possible.”
  • “ICAC is an indispensable body for fighting corruption in NSW. I am proud the Christian Democratic Party was instrumental in providing the political support needed to establish it.”

Media inquiries:  Rev. Fred Nile MLC:               (02) 9230 2478

The Rev. The Hon. Fred Nile MLC

13 October 2017                              Encl.: Hansard extract from 10 October 2017

Committee on the Independent Commission Against Corruption

Report: Review of the 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 Annual Reports of the ICAC Inspector

Debate resumed from 21 September 2017.

Reverend the Hon. FRED NILE ( 17:33 :54 ):

I will conclude my remarks on report No. 3/56 of the Committee on the Independent Commission Against Corruption entitled “Review of the 2014-2015 and 2015‑2016 annual reports of the ICAC Inspector”, dated September 2017. The Committee made three recommendations. People appearing before ICAC had considerable concern about fairness and that was addressed in recommendation 1 of the ICAC oversight committee, of which I am a member. Recommendation 1 states:

That the ICAC Commissioners (‘the three member Commission’) develop procedural fairness guidelines for the conduct of the ICAC’s public inquiries, as required by the Independent Commission Against Corruption Amendment Act 2016, as a matter of priority.

The committee made these recommendations in response to concerns raised by a number of stakeholders, including former Inspector Levine, that reputational damage and other serious consequences can flow from the ICAC’s public inquiries and findings in circumstances where affected individuals had limited opportunity for judicial review of those findings. At the 22 March public hearing the acting inspector raised similar concerns. That concern came through loud and clear a number of times in the hearings and that is why the committee made that recommendation. Recommendation 2 states:

That the ICAC develop a formal policy for advising people subject to an ICAC investigation, at the earliest possible opportunity, where they will not be the subject of adverse findings.

A number of witnesses were concerned that they were left in a state of ignorance as to what ICAC was going to recommend. The committee recommended that at the earliest possible opportunity those people should be advised that ICAC will not make adverse findings against them so that they do not live in a state of great concern or even fear as to what ICAC is going to recommend. We trust that ICAC will take note of these recommendations and that the new three member commission will apply these recommendations. Recommendation 3 states:

That the Inspector of the ICAC and the three member Commission review the Memorandum of Understanding between the Inspector and the ICAC as soon as practicable.

During the evidence of the former inspectors and the current inspectors there was a sense of some tension between the inspectors and ICAC itself. That tension is not helpful for ICAC in carrying out its role. There must be the closest cooperation between the inspector and ICAC, and a real depth of understanding of their respective roles to get the best results from ICAC for the people of New South Wales. I urge ICAC and the Government to take seriously those recommendations.

Debate adjourned.

Media inquiries:  Rev. Fred Nile MLC:               (02) 9230 2478

The Rev. The Hon. Fred Nile MLC

END

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