On December 4 2018, the NSW independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) released the report – Corruption and integrity in the NSW public sector: an assessment of current trends and events (the Report). The Report reviews the nature and corruption and integrity in the NSW public sector. In doing so, the Report identifies and explores the “emerging trends, hotspots, case studies and notable practices that have been brought to ICAC’s attention.”
The Report acknowledges that by global standards, NSW does not have a significant level of public sector corruption. However, the Report suggests that there is no room for complacency and all public sector executive and employees should read and adopt the advice in the Report.
The most notable trends identified in the Report are as follows:
Blurring of lines between public, private and not-for-profit sectors
The relationship between government agencies, businesses and not-for-profit organisations has shifted; so much so that the dividing line between public and private sectors has been diminished. ICAC recognises that contractors likely have “different attitudes to the use of public money, the management of conflicts of interest and public sector accountability conventions.” An example of blurred lines between the public and private sector is a contractor who is issued with a public sector credit card.
Public sector agencies that are required to work in constrained markets often have a tendency to compromise standards. This can lead to corrupt conduct such as contracting with parties that have conflicts of interest, failing to segregate duties, failing to protect confidential information or overlooking contract breaches.
The Report states that opportunities for corrupt conduct arise either during or after a period of poorly executed organisational change. ICAC recognises that agencies can easily lose focus on corruption prevention controls during a period of large transformational change. This is caused by a “climate of discontent, confusion and uncertainty in which corruption can flourish.”
The gig economy
The gig economy refers to short-term or freelance work, in which numerous public officials are engaged in through secondary employment. ICAC note that persons who work in the gig economy have little or no loyalty to their government employer. This can lead to corrupt conduct through conflicts of interest and the misuse of information and resources.
ICAC has recognised a noticeable increase in corrupt conduct relating to the procurement, delivery and monitoring of ICT products. This is partly due to the unique characteristics of ICT and the growing share of public sector expenditure devoted to ICT.
ICAC also recognises the increase in cybercrime. The most common types of cybercrime include spearphishing, theft of confidential information and ransomware.
The Report also explores whistleblowing, human resources, procurement and contract management, regulation and accreditation and non-government organisations. The Report is designed to assist agencies in targeting the greatest risk areas, as identified above.
The Report can be downloaded here.
Author: Christine Jones & Lauren Stables
Joint communiqué from Australia’s anti-corruption Commissioners
In line with the theme for this years International Anti-Corruption Day was The Power of People's Pressure, Commissioners of independent, anti-corruption and law enforcement integrity agencies in Australia, collectively called on public sector leaders to do more to build strong cultures of integrity that resist corruption (07 December 2018). More...
Encryption law falls short on rights safeguards
Human Rights Commissioner Edward Santow warns significant threats to human rights remain despite some improvements to Australia’s encryption law (07 December 2018). More...
New scheme to help people with their taxation reviews
The Hon Justice Steward of the Federal Court, who is also a Deputy President of the AAT, officially launched an initiative to offer pro bono legal advice and support to eligible taxpayers who are seeking an AAT review of a taxation matter (06 December 2018). More...
APS Review heads towards 2030
The Independent Review of the Australian Public Service (APS) has commissioned a consultant to look into the future to assist it in determining what the APS will need to deal with in the year 2030. The consultant’s report can be accessed here (06 December 2018). More...
All major criminal offences are falling or stable across NSW
Crime across most of NSW has remained stable or fallen over the last two years. Seven offences have trended down over the last 24 months. The remaining ten offences were stable (05 December 2018). More...
Lawyer X's conduct unethical and clear breach of rules
The Law Council of Australia has expressed deep concern about disclosures legal counsel acted as a police informer. Law Council of Australia President said the disclosures reveal a clear breach of legal professional. Rules and reinforced the need for properly resourced oversight bodies to supervise the activities of law enforcement (04 December 2018). More...
National defamation reform moves ahead
The Hon Mark Speakman SC MP has issued a media release detailing terms of reference approved by the Council of the Attorneys-General (CAG) to guide the national defamation reform process. The purpose of defamation law is to balance freedom of speech with the right of individuals to protect their reputations (04 December 2018). More...
Free diary informs seniors of their legal rights
Scams, elder abuse, funerals and pensions are all covered in a free diary aimed at keeping seniors informed of their legal rights. Mr Speakman said the diary from Legal Aid NSW is full of useful tips that will help seniors protect their rights and to keep safe (04 December 2018). More...
Landmark child sexual abuse laws in force
The NSW Liberals and Nationals Government has completed one of the largest overhauls of child sexual abuse legislation, with a range of tough new laws coming into force to increase child protection, bring offenders to justice and deliver better outcomes for survivors (01 December 2018). More...
Appointments to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal
The Attorney-General has announced 33 new appointments to the AAT. All have been appointed as part-time members, allowing them to be called upon by the AAT as needed to ensure the caseload within the Migration and Refugee Division is appropriately managed (30 November 2018). More...
Modern Slavery Act a reality after years of advocacy
Under the new laws, entities with an annual consolidated revenue of more than $100 million will be required to report on slavery risks in their supply chains. Law Council of Australia President, Morry Bailes, congratulated the Australian Government, and Parliament, for making a Modern Slavery Act a reality (29 November 2018). More...
The AAT is developing a range of new digital services to improve accessibility. The AAT is committed to getting on board with the transformation agenda by working towards vision of the Digital Transformation Strategy, which is to deliver world-leading digital services by 2025 (29 November 2018). More...
Senate urged to reject courts merger
The Law Council is urging the Senate to reject the Federal Government’s attempt to push a merger of the Federal Circuit Court and the Family Court through Parliament, arguing it will not alleviate the court system crisis affecting so many Australian families (29 November 2018). More...
New Modern Slavery law needs teeth to stop abuses
New laws to address forced labour in the supply chains of Australian companies passed in Parliament, but human rights advocates say they don’t go far enough (29 November 2018). More...
Amendments to Foreign Influence Transparency Scheme
Amendments to the Foreign Influence Transparency Scheme introduced into Parliament will ensure the scheme is fully operational in time for the next federal election (28 November 2018). More...
Passage of the Defence Amendment (Call out of The Australian Defence Force) Bill 2018
The Government has passed legislation to enhance the ability of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) to support state and territory police in responding to incidents of significant violence, including terrorism (27 November 2018). More...
Strengthened charity advocacy laws pass after year of consultation
The Human Rights Law Centre welcomes the passing of the electoral funding bill, which, after consultation with charities and not-for-profit organisations, is vastly different from the initial flawed proposal that would have stifled vital public advocacy by charities (27 November 2018). More...
Tax Office gives evidence to Family Court
The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) is to develop a new information-sharing system with the Family Court of Australia to ensure separating women receive a better deal accessing superannuation assets (26 November 2018). More...
New sittings times for Full Court sittings in the High Court of Australia.
Having recently trial led an earlier starting time of 10:00am for Full Court sittings the Justices of the High Court have adopted the earlier starting time as a permanent practice (03 December 2018). More...
High Court Rules - Amendments to Second Schedule
The High Court have advised it has made amendments to the High Court Rules 2004, amending Schedule 2, available here. The explanatory statement is available here. The Court has agreed to the recommendation of the Committee for an increase of 2.1% to the solicitors’ costs as set out in Schedule 2 of the High Court Rules 2004, which is to come into operation on 1 January 2019 and will apply in respect of all work done and services performed by solicitors after 31 December 2018 (07 December 2018). More...
Australian Human Rights Commission refreshed guidelines for the use of special measures under the Sex Discrimination Act 1984 (Cth).
Special measures are positive actions used to promote equality for disadvantaged groups, which are permitted under the Sex Discrimination Act. The Commission’s guidelines are intended to assist organisations and individuals to understand and use the special measures provisions in the Sex Discrimination Act. The guidelines can be accessed here. (06 December 2018)
AAT: Time limits for applying for review in the MRD
The Federal Court recently decided in Brown v Minister for Home Affairs (No. 2)  FCA 1787 that the Migration and Refugee Division (MRD) has the power to extend the time limits for applying for review. Prior to this judgment, it was understood that the AAT could not accept MRD applications made outside of time limits (03 December 2018). More...
LCA makes submission on future of the Family Court
The Law Council of Australia has made a submission to the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee Inquiry into the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia Bill 2018 and the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Consequential Amendments and Transitional Provisions) Bill 2018. The submission has now been published here (28 November 2018).
LCA: Australian Human Rights Commission National Inquiry into Sexual Harassment in Australian Workplaces
The development of the Law Council's submission to the Australian Human Rights Commission’s National Inquiry into Sexual Harassment in Australian Workplaces is underway. Under the inquiry's terms of reference it will also consider the current legal framework and contributing factors behind workplace sexual harassment in the legal profession. Contributions to the submission closed on 3 December 2018. More...
New South Wales
Amendments to the Guardianship Act and Powers of Attorney Act
Recent changes to the Guardianship Act 1987 and Powers of Attorney Act 2003 extend the list persons who are parties to NCAT Guardianship Division proceedings. From 1 December 2018, the legislative changes add the following as statutory parties: NSW Public Guardian and NSW Trustee and Guardian (03 December 2018). More...
NSW Council of Attorneys General Defamation Working Party: Terms of Reference
The Defamation Working Party ( DWP) is comprised of one nominated representative from each Australian state and territory jurisdiction and established under the auspices of the Council of Attorneys General (CAG). The DWP is to be chaired by a representative from the NSW Department of Justice. The DWP will consider whether the policy objectives of the Model Defamation Provisions (MDPs) remain valid and whether the MDPs remain appropriate to achieve these objectives. The Terms of Reference are available here. (04 December 2018)
NSWBA Submission to Senate Inquiry into the proposed restructure of the family law system
The New South Wales Bar Association has made a submission to the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee’s Inquiry into two bills which are currently before the Parliament to restructure the Federal Courts and in effect abolish the Family Court of Australia (04 December 2018)
New child sexual abuse laws take effect today
The Criminal Legislation Amendment (Child Sexual Abuse) Act 2018 has come into force. View the bill here and a Department of Justice Factsheet here.(03 December 2018)
JUDCOM: Local Court Bench Book — Preliminaries
Update 129, December 2018 Specific penalties and orders (30 November 2018). More...
ICAC: Operation Dasha public inquiry resumes 10 December 2018
The Operation Dasha public inquiry into allegations concerning the former Canterbury City Council will resume on Monday 10 December. More...
ICAC: Corruption Matters e-newsletter available now
The latest edition of the ICAC's Corruption Matters stakeholder e-newsletter is out (03 December 2018). More...
ICAC’s first report on state of corruption in NSW warns of evolving risks
The first NSW ICAC report on current trends in corruption and integrity in the NSW public sector warns the public sector to be wary of risks associated with blurred lines between government and non-government sectors, badly-managed organisational change, and rules that unintentionally can encourage corrupt conduct (04 December 2018). More...
NSW Government Bulletin editor:
Christine Jones, Partner - Construction & Infrastructure (Dispute Resolution)
T: +61 2 8083 0477
Dispute Resolution, Inquiries and Administrative Law
Greg Wrobel, Partner
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Bede Haines, Special Counsel
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Workplace Relations & Safety
Michael Selinger, Partner
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Privacy & Data Protection
Lyn Nicholson, General Counsel
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Planning, Property & Environment
Robina Kidd, Partner
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Vanya Lozzi, Partner
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Cameron Sheather, Partner
T: +61 2 8083 0461
Breellen Warry, Partner
T: +61 2 8083 0420
Lindsay McGregor, Partner
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Alexander McNutt, Special Counsel
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Peter Holt, Special Counsel
T: +61 2 8083 0421
Construction and Infrastructure (Projects and Procurement)
Scott Alden, Partner
T: +61 2 8083 0419
The information in this publication is of a general nature and is not intended to address the circumstances of any particular individual or entity. Although we endeavour to provide accurate and timely information, we do not guarantee that the information in this publication is accurate at the date it is received or that it will continue to be accurate in the future. We are not responsible for the information of any source to which a link is provided or reference is made and exclude all liability in connection with use of these sources.
Published by Christine Jones, Lauren Stables