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Greens Table Integrity Fix Legislation

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Wednesday, 23 June 2021

Tags: Democracy, Misconduct in Public Office, Integrity, Integrity Commission

Cassy O’Connor MP | Greens Leader 

On 10 June, 2021 the Greens received correspondence from the Integrity Commission to advise that the Integrity Commission Act 2009 does not apply to Members of Parliament during an election campaign. Due to this, our referral of the Premier for his handling of the Adam Brooks scandal during the campaign could not be investigated.

Today we tabled the Integrity Commission (Members of Parliament) Bill 2021 to remedy that loophole. Our Bill will ensure a sitting Member of either House of Tasmania’s Parliament remains a Member of Parliament for the purposes of the Act during an election –
•    Between the vacation of their seat and nomination day; and
•    If the person contests the election as a candidate, between nomination day and polling day.

While it is true a Member of Parliament is not considered a Member during an election period, they retain benefits of the office. These benefits include staffing and resources, a Parliamentary salary and general influence.

Our amendment bill ensures an incumbent MP contesting an election, who retains numerous benefits of office, is still accountable under the Integrity Commission Act 2009.

We also tabled the Criminal Code Amendment (Misconduct in Public Office) Bill 2021.

Tasmania is currently the only jurisdiction in Australia without a misconduct in public office offence in its criminal code or common law. In 2014, the Integrity Commission released a report recommending that this offence be established.

The offence establishes that a public officer who intentionally and dishonestly, using the benefits of their office, gains a benefit for themselves or another person or causes a detriment to another person is guilty of misconduct in public office.

This reform is long overdue.  The Greens have moved for this offence in Parliament twice previously.

We hope our Liberal and Labor colleagues understand the time has come to enact an offence of misconduct in public office.