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Time for Tasmania to Join the Rest of the Nation on Public Trust

16 Aug 2015

Cassy O'Connor MP | Greens Leader

When Parliament returns this week, the Greens will table an amendment to the Criminal Code Act 1924 to create a crime of 'misconduct in public office' in line with the Integrity Commission's recommendations.

Tasmania is the only jurisdiction in the country not to have this offence in its criminal code or common law.  There is no excuse for us to lag so far behind the rest of the nation in ensuring the highest standards of conduct among elected representatives, public servants and all those who work for Government Business Enterprises (GBEs) or are employed by the Crown in some capacity.

In his final blistering salvo, outgoing Integrity Commission Chief Commissioner, Murray Kellam AO, expressed frustration that Tasmania’s Parliament has not enacted the crime of ‘misconduct in public office’ as has every other State, Territory and the Commonwealth.

Mr Kellam believes had there been such an offence on our statute books, a number of investigations conducted by the Integrity Commission in Tasmania could have resulted in prosecution. 

He also expresses a concern that there may be a complacency in government and the bureaucracy that allegations of corruption of the nature that have recently resulted in prosecutions being commenced in New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia, after investigations by their integrity bodies, will not occur in Tasmania.

It is neither rational nor reasonable to conclude that Tasmania is immune from the same integrity and public trust issues that have arisen in other states.

The Greens believe Tasmanians should expect the highest standards of conduct among those who hold public office and are employed on the public purse.

We strongly believe both the Liberal and Labor parties should act in the public interest and support our amendment bill when it comes on for debate.