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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 1 Hansard (8 December) . . Page.. 3949 ..

Wednesday, 8 December 1999


MR SPEAKER (Mr Cornwell) took the chair at 10.30 am and asked members to stand in silence and pray or reflect on their responsibilities to the people of the Australian Capital Territory.


MR KAINE (10.32): Mr Speaker, I seek leave to amend my notice, which was incorrectly worded yesterday, to read:

To present a Bill for an Act to constitute the Commission for Integrity in Government in the Australian Capital Territory and to define its functions, and related matters.

Leave granted.

MR KAINE: I present the Commission for Integrity in Government Bill 1999, together with its explanatory memorandum.

Title read by Clerk.

MR KAINE: I move:

That this Bill be agreed to in principle.

Mr Speaker, the intention of this proposed legislation is to enable the creation of a new statutory body in the ACT, to be called the Commission for Integrity in Government. Under this legislation, the commission will have wide powers, especially in terms of investigating conduct by public officials which is lacking in integrity or possibly lacking integrity and in educating public authorities and the community generally about the detrimental effects of public conduct lacking integrity and strategies to combat such conduct.

The term "public officials" has a very wide meaning and includes Ministers, members of the Assembly, the judiciary and the police, and the wider Public Service. Members will note that the expression used in this Bill is "conduct lacking integrity", which includes, among other things, conduct that adversely affects or could adversely affect the honest or impartial exercise of official functions by a public official or a public authority. It does not matter whether the conduct is committed by a public official or by some other person. However, the conduct must be such as could constitute or involve a criminal or a disciplinary offence, or reasonable grounds for terminating the services of a public official. Of course, this Bill contains an extensive description of what constitutes "conduct lacking integrity".

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