New laws to combat corruption passed by the Australian Parliament
27 November 2012
The Law Enforcement Integrity Legislation Amendment Bill 2012 was today passed by the Australian Parliament.
Under this legislation officers of the Australian Federal Police, the Australian Crime Commission and the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service will be subject to targeted integrity tests.
Integrity tests are covert operations that are designed to test whether a public official will respond to a simulated situation in a manner that is illegal or would contravene an agency’s standard of integrity.
Examples of integrity tests include:
- A covert operative handing a wallet containing cash to officers and observing that correct handling protocols are observed;
- Leaving valuable goods at a simulated crime scene to test whether an officer steals the item; and
- A covert operative offering a Commonwealth officer a bribe.
“The vast majority of law enforcement officers are good, honest and hardworking people but the nature of their work makes them a target for organised criminals,” Mr Clare said.
“There is no place for corruption in our public service.”
“This legislation gives our law enforcement agencies the tools they need to weed out corruption wherever they may find it.”
Mr Clare said the power of integrity testing is that an officer will never know when they are being tested.
“Any officer thinking of acting corruptly will now have to think twice because the criminal who is bribing them could be an undercover police officer.”
The legislation doubles the number of agencies that are oversighted by the corruption watchdog, the Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity (ACLEI). Staff from CrimTrac, the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC), and prescribed staff in the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry will now be subject to the jurisdiction of ACLEI.
It also increases the powers of the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service (ACPBS) Chief Executive Officer to deal with suspected corruption, bringing these powers into line with those available to the Australian Federal Police Commissioner and the Australian Crime Commission CEO. The CEO will now have the power to:
- Authorise drug and alcohol testing;
- To make an order declaring that the termination of an employee was for serious misconduct; and
- To issue orders including mandatory reporting requirements, whereby staff members will be required to report any suspected misconduct.
“Customs officers do work just as important as our other law enforcement officials, and that makes them an attractive target for those seeking to corrupt,” Mr Clare said.
Media contact: Ryan Hamilton