Queensland`s Crime and Misconduct Commission: To Be or

Queensland’s Crime and Misconduct
Commission: To be or not to be ... that should
be the question!
ASPG National Conference
4 October 2013, Perth
Professor Scott Prasser
Australian Catholic University
• History – from whence the CMC
• Where it fits in the integrity
process in Queensland and
• Issues
• Recent Callinan/Aroney Review
1980s/90s New responses – Anticorruption bodies cometh
New ongoing, permanent bodies
Coercive powers of investigation
Extensive resources
Outside of existing agencies like police
– Independent Commission Against Corruption
(NSW 1988)
– Criminal Justice Commission (Qld 1989)
– Corruption & Crime Commission (WA 1992/2003)
Challenges: Anti-corruption
• ‘Capture’ by those being oversighted
• Reliance on personnel from agencies
oversighted eg police
• Co-ordination other integrity agencies
• Resources
• Civil liberties
• Time delays for results
• Sustaining political & public support
• Challenges to executive government
– ‘fourth’ arm of govt?
• Accountability and review
Importance of CMC
Reviewing the CMC and any changes –
“since the CMC, along with ICAC, are
regarded as the "flagship" integrity
agencies and benchmarks for agencies in
Victoria (IBAC) , Tasmania, and Western
Australia (CCC)”
UoQ Academic
Origins of CJC/CMC
• Fitzgerald Report est EARC and the CJC and stated:
“The main object of this report and its recommendations is to
bring about improved structures and systems. The past
misdeeds of individuals are of less concern, except as a
basis for learning for the future.”
• Fitzgerald himself stressed “work started by this
Commission [had] not been completed” and that its real task
was to “found the process of reform”
• “These bodies and not this Inquiry will provide the
appropriate forum for debate and determination of what
specific reforms should be made.”
History of CMC
• 1989 Criminal Justice Commission – Fitzgerald
• Aust’s first all encompassing anti-corruption,
misconduct body (public service, local government and
police, organised crime)
• Investigative powers of a royal commission
• Borbidge Coalition Govt:
– ended ‘one-stop shop’ model separated organised crime
function est the new Queensland Crime Commission
• Beattie Govt 2002 – abolished QCC and formed
Crime and Misconduct Commission
Problems – from the beginning
Sir Max Bingham observed:
• “Politically, while current rhetoric dictates that each and every
member of the Legislative Assembly will loudly proclaim his or
her commitment to reform, the actual experience of the CJC
suggests that the practical manifestations of reform are not so
welcome after all. There has been progress, but economic
difficulties and competing agendas have combined to lessen
the impact of some of the Fitzgerald philosophy.”
• “... almost daily there were messages from various political
quarters that it would be a good idea if we were to all drop
Positive problems – doing its job
• Attacking executive government – some
ministers forced to resign
• Issues with Police appointments
• Overseeing Police actions
Issues with Police investigations eg
Palm Island Affair – CMC believe it had
been “sidelined” by actions of Police
Negative problems: Failures
• Alleged involvement of staff in pornography
• Possible leaking to the media
• Achieving favourable outcomes by delaying
• Perceived political bias
• Failure to address organised crime esp Qld
drug trade
• Spending time & resources minor public
servant misdemeanours often based on
personally motivated ‘tittle-tattle’
Other issues
• Exempt from other agency reviews
• Chair – appointments
• Lack of oversight:
– parl c’mttee captured by process and CMC
– no independent review
• Failed to handle some important issues
– Nuttall/Patel nailed by Davies Royal
Recent perceived failures:
Prince issue?
• Public Servant in Health Dept - $16m
• CMC received report 2010 – but
referred back to Health Dept
• Recent report – action against Health
Organisational fit issues
• Additional wheel of government not fit
with Qld’s unicameral version of
– Holding executive to account
– Accountability issues
– Reporting processes
– Relations with parliamentary committee –
past and present
– Performance review – about what and by
Connolly-Ryan Review 1996
• Inquiry into the Future Role, Structure,
Powers and Operations of the Criminal
Justice Commission
• Established under the Commissions of
Inquiry Act
• CJC Carruthers Inquiry - Cabinet Minister
guilty of a criminal offence
• Mr Connolly QC, made comments about
Carruthers Inquiry and other matters
• Supreme Court ruled –”bias” – Connolly-Ryan
Inquiry closed down (Curruthers/CMC)
Misuse of CMC by government
• Sending issues to CMC for political reasons
• 2012 election and actions by Bligh Govt
• AG, Jarrod Bleijie’s announcing the Inquiry:
“The problem in the past has been that just
referring a matter to the CMC becomes part of the
political debate and that is not why the
Commission is there. It should not be used as a
political football as it was by the Labor
Government, which made an art-form out of
referring matters to the CMC for its own political
Callinan Review 2012
The Advisory Panel shall make such recommendations as it thinks fit:
a. as to whether the Crime and Misconduct Act 2001 (Qld) (‘the Act’) and any
other associated statutes and regulations should be amended;
b. to improve the operation of agencies charged with, or concerned in the
operation of the Act with respect to:
(i).the use or any abuse of the powers and functions conferred by the Act;
(ii).ensuring the maintenance of public confidence in the Act and the relevant agencies;
c. to ensure the prioritisation of focus by the relevant agencies on:
(i) criminal organisations;
(ii) major crime;
(iii) the elimination and prevention of corruption in public affairs;
(iv) timeliness and appropriateness of action by the relevant agencies;
d. with respect to such other matters as the Panel think relevant to any of the
above matters.
The Advisory Panel’s recommendations are to be made by way of a report, to be provided
to the Attorney-General by 14 March 2013
Structure of report
1: Intro
2: Constitutional; history & context:14-21
3: History of CMC:22-41
4: Comparative analysis:42-70
6:Compalints: Publicity - 82-105
7: Complaints: Trivial 105-125
8: Multiplication: 128-159
8A: Redacted: 163-177
9: Police Conduct:192-192
10: CMC Activities – priorities/focus/oversight: 193-201
11: Summary & Recommendations: 201-220
Basic thrusts of Report
• No abolition
• Integrity – part of good management –
‘integrity industry’
• Poor priority setting & lack of focus
– trivial pursuit – need tightening
– baseless complaints
– eg The Prince
• Long delays in cases/stress
• Oversight issues: Parl/Parl Comm/‘Unit of
public administration’
Basic thrusts (cont’d)
• Dual crime & misconduct dual roles …but
• Local govt supervision – transfer
• Ethical Standard Units in public
service/educative functions - reduced
• Bureaucratic/language
• Research unit – not performing/not specific
• Media roles reduced
• MoUs across govt - lapse
Limits of Callinan Review: Process
• Callinan Review not constituted under Qld’s
Commissions of Inquiry Act with royal
commission powers to obtain information and
to protect witnesses
• Problems with CMC
• Membership highly competent, but narrow
• Focussed on the Act – not the institution
• Resources
• Lack of meaningful framework
• Was it a real performance review?
Reactions to report
• Bad press
• Recommendation released before the full
• When report was released – parts
• Concerns about civil liberties/
• Criticisms of CMC research body
• Quaint – lectures on govt
• Attacked ‘ethics ‘industry’
Criticisms (collected)
• Tenor cast the CMC as part of the "integrity Industry", which
consists of duplication and overlap among several institutions
(the CMC, Ombudsman, Public Service Commission)
• Riddled with errors of fact and interpretation
• Recommendations "ad hoc thought-bubbles" organised in a haphazard fashion
• Recommendations range from macro to micro--such as
proposing that the optimal staffing model for the CMC's media
unit was 1 person
• In one area where the recommendations take-on a clear focus
complaint management-the recommendations are advanced
without justification
• There are lessons that can be learned from the Callinan-Aroney
Review that will be instructive to future organisational reviews,
particularly reviewed of independent integrity agencies.
Government response
The Newman Government has issued
a response which consists principally
of endorsements of Callinan/Aroney's
Implementation team is now at work
with the goal of developing the CMC
in the image of Callinan and Aroney.

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