The Baillieu Government must move to restore public confidence in IBAC and back Labor’s amendments to give Parliament the final say on who becomes Victoria’s first IBAC Commissioner, the Shadow Minister for Crime Prevention, Jill Hennessey, said today.
Ms Hennessy said the OPI Report Crossing the Line had irreparably damaged public faith in the Baillieu Government’s ability to handle the complex and sensitive appointments to the corruption commission and the Victorian Inspectorate.
“The OPI Report scandal engulfing Peter Ryan has resulted in mounting public concern over the Baillieu Government’s credentials on integrity and credibility and compromised public confidence in the independence of a future IBAC,” she said.
“The OPI Report has provided shocking accounts of internal government politics driven by self-interest, nasty vendettas and hidden agendas.
“This included Crime Prevention Minister, Andrew McIntosh sounding out former Deputy Police Commissioner, Sir Ken Jones for a key IBAC position.
“Mr McIntosh did this behind the back of the Deputy Premier and Police Minister, Peter Ryan, and despite maintaining all appointments to the commission would be made by the new IBAC Commissioner.”
Ms Hennessey said Baillieu Government legislation before Parliament would further erode the independence of IBAC and break a key government election promise.
“The Baillieu Government wants to waive Parliament’s right to veto the inaugural, five-year appointments of both the commissioner and the inspector and instead fill these positions through a direct appointment by the Premier,” she said.
“Independence from Government is crucial to IBAC’s capacity to fight corruption without fear or favour.
“It will indeed be a brave person who accepts the role of IBAC Commissioner and then has to investigate possible corruption of the Government who has appointed them.
“The only way the Baillieu Government can ensure the independence of IBAC and the Victorian Inspectorate, is to back Labor’s amendments to give the IBAC parliamentary committee the right to veto the appointment of the first IBAC Commissioner and Victorian Inspector.
“If they don’t, there will be no “I” in IBAC.”