Joint Standing Committee on the Corruption and Crime Commission — Eleventh Report —
“Parliamentary Inspector’s Report on ‘a Saga of Persistence’” —
Resumed from 4 September on the following motion moved by Hon Alison Xamon —
That the report be noted.
Comments and speeches from various members
The CHAIR: I give the call to Hon Alison Xamon. You have got only four minutes.
Hon ALISON XAMON: Thank you, Mr Chair.
Hon Nick Goiran made a very useful contribution. I thank him for bringing to the attention of the house the fact that the matters raised in this report were effectively raised in the previous Parliament, yet we have the ongoing situation whereby this Parliament still has very limited oversight of the extraordinary powers that it has entrusted to the Corruption and Crime Commission and to the office of the Parliamentary Inspector of the Corruption and Crime Commission. I believe that is unacceptable to the general public, and it is certainly unacceptable to this house. It is very concerning to hear that this is ongoing. I certainly concur with the comments of Hon Nick Goiran and hope that this issue will not need to be revisited in the forty-first Parliament, or any other Parliament for that matter.
The report highlights that a comprehensive review of the Corruption, Crime and Misconduct Act 2003 is incredibly overdue. Indeed, I would suggest that an entirely new act needs to be constructed from scratch. Successive Parliaments have granted greater extraordinary powers to the Corruption and Crime Commission, yet we have been very lax in ensuring that we keep up with the expansion of those powers by applying appropriate levels of oversight. The report makes it clear that Parliament is not managing to keep up with the gaps in oversight that have been identified, let alone ensuring that the CCC is not overstepping its authority and is exercising the powers that have been granted to it in an appropriate way and for the purposes for which they were intended. As I said in my previous contribution, Parliament envisaged that the Corruption and Crime Commission would investigate organised crime, such as that associated with bikie gangs, for example, large-scale drug importation, and police corruption.
Members need to turn their minds to making long overdue reforms to the Corruption, Crime and Misconduct Act that would ensure that Parliament is given sufficient power to oversight the Corruption and Crime Commission. We have not invested a lot in the office of the parliamentary inspector. I do not know whether members are aware, but it equates to two full-time equivalents, and the parliamentary inspector himself works only part time. However, we have invested in them a huge level of responsibility to oversight the behemoth of an entity that is the CCC. Unfortunately, through legislative failure, in my opinion, we have further hampered the capacity of the parliamentary inspector to appropriately oversight the activities of the CCC. Parliament created the entity of the CCC; therefore, we need to ensure that the CCC meets community expectations and that we have not effectively created a body that is exceeding its powers, particularly if that is potentially for political purposes. I am sure we would all recognise that that would be utterly abhorrent in modern-day democratic Australia. Parliament needs to have sufficient oversight to ensure that the Corruption and Crime Commission meets community expectations.
The CHAIR: Members, unfortunately, temporary order 4 will now cause us to interrupt that debate, but we will return to it in due course.
Consideration of report postponed, pursuant to standing orders.