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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 13 Hansard (Thursday, 29 November 2018) . . Page.. 5129 ..

The ACT has also enacted safeguards that prevent evidence given by a suspect under compulsion from being used against them in subsequent prosecutions. The ACT Human Rights Commission has played a valuable role in ensuring the human rights compatibility of this bill. The commission has provided useful analysis on the human rights implications of a range of key provisions through each stage of the bill’s development. I appreciate their time and considered input to this process.

I am satisfied that this government is introducing a strong and carefully thought out bill that meets the needs of the territory, that is, a robust and seamless system of oversight that simultaneously respects the separation of powers and our Human Rights Act. This bill, as part of the government’s package of integrity reforms, will increase transparency and accountability across the three arms of government. I have no doubt that this will allow us to serve and maintain the confidence of the Canberra community. I commend the bill to the Assembly.

MR STEEL (Murrumbidgee—Minister for City Services, Minister for Community Services and Facilities, Minister for Multicultural Affairs and Minister for Roads) (4.33): I am pleased to stand in support of the government’s Integrity Commission Bill 2018. This is a very strong statement from our government that corruption and misconduct are not acceptable in the ACT public service, in this legislature or in the judiciary. It delivers Labor’s commitment at the election to establish an integrity commission and will enhance trust in government.

Over the past two years I have been involved in the two select committee inquiries into an integrity commission in the ACT. I would like to thank all members of the Assembly who were involved in these committees for their very constructive approach to establishing this very important commission, including the chair, Mr Rattenbury, Ms Cody, Ms Lee, Mrs Jones and Mrs Dunne, as well as the committee secretaries for the two inquiries, Dr Andrea Cullen and Hamish Finlay.

This was a very important piece of work and I think that the bill reflects not only the work of government but also the important work of the committee and their deliberations from the very first principles about how an effective commission might operate in a small jurisdiction like the ACT. Of course, I would like also to thank the many members of the community and organisations that made submissions as part of the two inquiries.

Going back to first principles, one of the key questions that was raised during the course of the inquiries was the question of why we need this commission established under the bill that we are debating today. We have seen the role of like integrity bodies in other jurisdictions which have played a significant role in strengthening the integrity framework, in addition to other integrity agencies around Australia.

We have heard from the submissions to the inquiry that there is no reason to believe that the ACT is particularly susceptible to corruption. However, like other jurisdictions, we are not immune from corruption, and we need an agency with the powers to enable the identification, investigation and exposure of corrupt conduct.

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