A strong ICAC means hearings must remain public

MEDIA RELEASE - May 12, 2016
Commenting on the report from the ICAC inspector released today, Jamie Parker MP said that stripping ICAC of any power to hold public hearings was contrary to previous expert advice and would result in a weaker ICAC.

“If the Premier’s support for a strong ICAC is genuine, then he must reject the controversial recommendations proposed by ICAC inspector David Levine”, said Mr Parker, Greens spokesperson on anti-corruption.

“ICAC hearings should be held in public and witnesses given natural justice. Private hearings will only serve to breed suspicion, rumours and innuendo,” said Mr Parker.

The Premier asked Mr Levine to review ICAC powers in light of the expert panel’s 2015 report. However, the expert panel did not make any recommendation to change the corruption watchdog’s powers to hold public meetings. Also, former ICAC Commissioner David Ipp highlighted that ICAC’s public hearings are a significant “weapon” in exposing corruption.

“The public deserves and expects transparency of investigations undertaken by ICAC. To allow secret hearings will conceal corruption and take this state backwards.

“Public hearings are a critical part of the transparent and accountable corruption fighting efforts of ICAC. If this recommendation from Mr Levine is implemented it would effectively cripple the nation’s most effective corruption fighting body.

“I call on the Premier to decisively dismiss the recommendations to strip ICAC’s power to hold public meetings, create an exoneration protocol, and inflate the inspector’s oversight powers.

“Anything else – including allowing consideration by the conservative-stacked parliamentary oversight committee – will demonstrably weaken ICAC’s ability to expose corrupt conduct,” said Mr Parker. 

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