Australia: NSW Government Bulletin - 14 May 2014

Last Updated: 16 May 2014
Most Read Contributor in Australia, September 2016

In the context of recent investigations by the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC), Labor Opposition Leader John Robertson introduced The Independent Commission Against Corruption Amendment (Ministerial Code of Conduct) Bill 2014 (ICAC Amendment Bill) on 8 May 2014. The ICAC Amendment Bill specifies if the Ministerial Code of Conduct is substantially breached by a Minister, this could constitute 'corrupt conduct' under the Independent Commission Against Corruption Act 1988 (NSW) (ICAC Act).

Currently, section 9 of the ICAC Act limits what can amount to corrupt conduct. Conduct cannot amount to corrupt conduct under section 9 unless it could constitute or involve a criminal offence, or a disciplinary offence, if there are reasonable grounds for dismissing or otherwise terminating the services of a public official, or if there is a substantial breach of an applicable code of conduct in the case of conduct of a Minister or Member of Parliament (MP).

At present, only the Code of Conduct for MPs has been adopted as 'an applicable code of conduct' for the purposes of section 9 of the ICAC Act.

The ICAC Amendment Bill, if passed, will prescribe the Ministerial Code of Conduct as an applicable code of conduct under section 9 of the ICAC Act. Consequently, ICAC can declare substantial breaches of Ministerial Code of Conduct, 'corrupt conduct'. The Bill represents an attempt to implement recommendation 23 of the ICAC Report 'Reducing the Opportunities and Incentives for Corruption in the State's Management of Coal Resources' and seeks to end a loophole in relation to Ministers' dealings.

The ICAC Amendment Bill is related to and was introduced on the same day as the Constitution Amendment (Disclosures by Members) Bill 2014 (Constitution Amendment Bill). The Constitution Amendment Bill, if passed, will require MPs to disclose pecuniary interests of their spouses, de factos or dependents under 18 years of age, disclose commercial arrangements that relatives of the MPs have entered into or expect to enter into with government and disclose each MP's annual taxable income.

The Bills were adjourned for consideration before the second reading debate, on a date to be decided.

In the media

Political donation laws explained: differences between federal and state legislation
As the New South Wales corruption watchdog investigates allegations of prohibited donations to the state branch of the Liberal Party, the Federal Treasurer has also been under scrutiny over another fundraising body (07 May2014) More...

Charges upgraded for man accused of deadly one-punch assault at Rooty Hill birthday party
Police have upgraded the charges against a young man accused of a deadly one-punch assault at a Western Sydney party. He has now been charged with assault causing death while intoxicated and causing grievous bodily harm, making him the first person to be dealt with under new one-punch mandatory sentencing laws in NSW (07 May 2014) More...

ICAC: Property developer Tony Merhi upped donations to federal Liberal Party following NSW ban
A Sydney property developer appearing before the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) today began donating tens of thousands of dollars to the federal Liberal Party after developer donations in New South Wales were banned, in a case that highlights a loophole in disclosure laws (08 May 2014) More...

In practice and courts

National Investigations Symposium 2014
The 10th National Investigations Symposium will be held from 5 - 7 November 2014 at the Four Seasons Hotel, Sydney. This biennial event, for public sector investigators and complaint-handlers, is run by the NSW ICAC, NSW Ombudsman and the Institute of Public Administration Australia (NSW Division).To express interest in attending the 2014 symposium, visit the IPAA NSW website.

Published – articles, papers, reports

Enabling Australia's digital future: cyber security threats and implications

Author: Sandra Arico, Vivek Srinivasan: CSIRO
This report argues that a greater number of future online attackers - anyone from disgruntled employees to organised cybercriminals and nation-states - could cause widespread disruption and financial losses by hacking into Australia's digital services and infrastructure, including public services like patient health records and taxation data (05 May 2014) Enabling Australia's digital future: cyber security threats and implications

Identity crime and misuse in Australia: results of the 2013 online survey
Author: Russell G. Smith, Alice Hutchings: Australian Institute of Criminology
With identity crime and misuse of personal information affecting individuals, businesses and governments, this national survey examines the extent and nature of identity crime in Australia (05 May 2014) Identity crime and misuse in Australia: results of the 2013 online survey

The impact of intensive correction orders on re-offending
Clare Ringland, Don Weatherburn: NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research
This study examined the risk of re-offending of those who received an intensive correction order, relative to those who received periodic detention and suspended sentences with supervision (02 May 2014) The impact of intensive correction orders on re-offending

ICAC Corruption Matters online
The Commission's biannual newsletter, Corruption Matters, will now be produced online. The the first electronic edition will be distributed this June (09 May 2014) More...


Beer v Commissioner of Police NSW Police Force [2014] NSWCATAP 15
STATUTORY INTERPRETATION - meaning of 'appealable decision' in s 112 Administrative Decisions Tribunal Act 1997 (NSW); Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (NSW). Appeal dismissed More...


New South Wales

Bills introduced Government

Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Amendment (Family Member Victim Impact Statement) Bill 2014
The object of this Bill is to enable a court on the application of the prosecutor to take a family victim impact statement into account for sentencing purposes on the basis that the impact of an offence on the immediate family of a deceased victim is an aspect of harm done to the community. The Bill overrules the decision in R v Previtera (1997) 94 A Crim R 76, which held that the impact of the death of a victim on the victim's family is not relevant to the determination of the offender's sentence.

Crimes Amendment (Strangulation) Bill 2014
The object of this Bill is to amend the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) to create a new offence that will apply if a person intentionally chokes, suffocates or strangles another person to render the other person unconscious, insensible or incapable of resistance, and to simplify and modernise an existing offence that applies if a person chokes, suffocates or strangles another person with intent to enable him or herself to commit, or to assist another person to commit another indictable offence.

Bills Introduced Non-Government

Constitution Amendment (Disclosures by Members) Bill 2014 This bill is cognate with the Independent Commission Against Corruption Amendment (Ministerial Code of Conduct) Bill 2014 and aims to require each Member of Parliament to:

  • Disclose particular pecuniary interests of any spouse or de facto partner of the MP and any dependents of the MP under the age of 18 years;
  • Disclose commercial arrangements that relatives of the Member have entered into, or reasonably expect to enter into with the government; and
  • Disclose the member's annual taxable income.

Independent Commission Against Corruption Amendment (Ministerial Code of Conduct) Bill 2014 The object of this Bill is to prescribe a ministerial code of conduct which if substantially breached, will constitute corrupt conduct under the Independent Commission Against Corruption Act 1988.

Bills revised following amendment in Committee

Graffiti Control Amendment Bill 2014
This Bill amends the Graffiti Control Act 2008, following recommendations from a statutory review of that Act. The objects include replacing particular graffiti offences with a two-tiered graffiti offence, clarifying how community clean up orders may be made and setting a maximum number of hours of community clean up work that may be specified in one community clean up order.

Bills passed by both Houses of Parliament

Criminal Assets Recovery Amendment Bill 2014
This Bill was passed by both Houses on 7 May 2014.

Graffiti Control Amendment Bill 2014

This Bill was passed by both Houses on 8 May 2014.

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