Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 13 Hansard (29 November) . . Page.. 5148 ..
Mr Barr: As I say, I am not going to do it on the run, Mrs Dunne. I am not going to do it this way, because we will be back to tidy them up time and time again. It is too complicated to try to do it this way.
MRS DUNNE: Diddums.
Mr Barr: You agreed with me in the hearings the other day—that exact reason.
Clause 8 agreed to.
MR COE (Yerrabi—Leader of the Opposition) (5.44): I move amendment No 5 circulated in my name [see schedule 1 at page 5200]. This very important amendment seeks to bring the definition of corrupt conduct in line with that of New South Wales, a definition that was confirmed to be the preferable definition by both select committees.
The amendment allows the commission as much scope for discretion as possible. The commission should not be restricted from looking into anything that is potentially corrupt. I think that the argument that this would make the commission a clearing house for complaints is flawed. The commissioner will not waste his or her time looking at petty issues. We are trusting this commissioner with a huge amount of responsibility, yet somehow we do not seem to trust the commissioner with the ability to dismiss such vexatious complaints.
The commission will take complaints from anyone, with the distinction being that a serious disciplinary offence and a simple disciplinary offence will not prevent people from reporting minor misconduct. The same complaints are still going to come in, so the same discretion is still going to have to be exercised. Each one is still going to have to be analysed regardless of where that line is. I do not think that there is really any great efficiency by having a different line.
The mandatory reporting requirements apply only to serious and systemic corruption, which means that this change would not impose an onerous burden on the public service or on members of the Assembly. I think this amendment is appropriate and it strikes the right balance, as we have seen in other jurisdictions.
MR BARR (Kurrajong—Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Social Inclusion and Equality, Minister for Tourism and Special Events and Minister for Trade, Industry and Investment) (5.46): The government prefers the amendment that is to be moved by Mr Rattenbury in relation to this matter. Obviously, this has been the subject of a discussion back and forth between the parties over not just weeks but months. Our view remains that misconduct is dealt with by the Public Sector Standards Commissioner and the threshold needs to be set at a point so that the commission avoids being inundated with minor infractions and complaints that would reduce its effectiveness.