ICAC opening in South Australia – as frantic as the Norwood v Port 1984 Grand Final?

Today is significant for us South Australians.

Footy Park and the Port Magpies at Alberton are now only a distant picture in our memories.  However, it is the first day of operation for the State’s newly established Independent Commissioner Against Corruption (ICAC) and Office for Public Integrity (OPI).

The opening stanza of ICAC may be as frantic as the 1984 Norwood v Port Grand Final (think Craig Balme and Tim Evans).

There are some guiding principles worth noting when considering the operation of ICAC and the OPI.

The OPI has been established to receive and assess all complaints and reports in relation to allegations concerning corruption, misconduct and/or maladministration in public administration.  The OPI makes recommendations to the ICAC regarding complaints it receives and investigates.

The following definitions are relevant:

  • Corruption:  means conduct which (among other things) includes bribery or corruption of public officers, threats or reprisals against public officers, abuse of public office, demanding or requiring a benefit on the basis of public office, or offences relating to appointment to public office;
  • Misconduct: means contravention of a code of conduct by a public officer that constitutes a ground for disciplinary action against the officer, or other misconduct of a public officer while acting in their capacity as a public officer;
  • Maladministration: means conduct of a public officer involving substantial mismanagement in relation to the performance of official functions, and includes conduct resulting from impropriety, incompetence or negligence, and is to be assessed having regard to relevant statutory provisions and administrative instructions and directions.

The definition of Public Officer is quite broad and includes any officer or employee of a statutory authority.

If you are aware of any such activity you should seek legal advice immediately.

It may be that strict reporting obligations arise and that the relevant information should be presented to the OPI in a considered and balanced manner in order to best protect your legal interests.

Please contact James Frearson-Lea at Kain C+C to discuss issues relating to the OPI and ICAC in further detail.