Australia: Queensland Government enacts significant changes to corruption watchdog legislation

Key Points:

Queensland agencies, Chief Executive Officers and their delegates must now reconsider and redefine integrity policies following changes to the Crime and Misconduct Commission's functions.

The Crime and Misconduct Commission Amendment Act 2014 was recently passed by the Queensland Parliament and introduced a range of significant changes to the functions, operation and governance arrangements of Queensland's corruption watchdog, the Crime and Misconduct Commission (CMC). These changes contain some of the most significant legislative changes to the CMC's legislative framework since the initial establishment in 1989 of the CMC's predecessor entity, the Criminal Justice Commission.

In this article, we will highlight the key changes made by the Amendment Act.

Background to the Amendment Act

The changes implemented by the Amendment Act are the result of two reviews. The first was the review by the Independent Advisory Panel (established in October 2012 and constituted by former High Court Justice the Honourable Ian Callinan AC and Professor Nicholas Aroney) which was followed by the Parliamentary Crime and Misconduct Committee Inquiry into the CMC's release and destruction of Fitzgerald Commission of Inquiry documents. The majority of the recommendations made by these reviews have been accepted by the Queensland Government and are now reflected in the Amendment Act.

The Crime and Corruption Commission

The key policy driver behind many of the changes in the Amendment Act is to focus the functions of the CMC on "corruption" and the investigation of serious corruption. The name of the Crime and Misconduct Commission will be changed by the Amendment Act and will become the Crime and Corruption Commission.

The key substantive amendments set out in the Amendment Act are detailed below.

Definitional change from "official misconduct" to "corrupt conduct"

A key finding of the Independent Advisory Panel was that the definition of "official misconduct" in the CM Act had a broader application as compared with other definitions in equivalent anti-corruption statues in other Australian jurisdictions. The Independent Advisory Panel also found that the resources of the CMC were, in part, being applied to the investigation of trivial and vexatious complaints. The Amendment Act makes several changes to sections14 and 15 of the CM Act to now define "corrupt conduct" as opposed to "official misconduct".

The previous definitions of the terms "conduct" and "official misconduct" have been amended, and the legal threshold for establishing whether specific conduct will trigger the Commission's anti-corruption functions has substantially changed. Under the Amendment Act, for conduct to constitute "corrupt conduct" the conduct in question must satisfy a number of cumulative threshold tests, being whether the conduct:

  • adversely affects, or could adversely affect, directly or indirectly, the performance of functions or the exercise of powers of an agency or a public office holder; and
  • results, or could result, directly or indirectly, in the performance of functions or exercise of powers in a way that is not honest or impartial; involves a breach of the public trust; or involves a misuse of information; and
  • is engaged in for the purpose of providing a benefit to the person or another person or causing a detriment to another person; and
  • would, if proved, be a criminal offence or a disciplinary breach providing reasonable grounds for terminating the person's services. The requirement that the conduct in question satisfy one of these elements was included in the previous definition of "official misconduct". The difference being that the test is now "would" the relevant conduct, if proven, satisfy one of these criteria. The approach of changing the relevant test from "could " to "would" was recommended by the Independent Advisory Panel.

The new section 15(2) of the CM Act also includes examples of the types of conduct which may amount to "corrupt conduct". The type of conduct includes abuse of public office, bribery, fraud, extortion, obtaining a financial benefit or sedition.

Chief Executive Officer Reporting obligations

Previously under section 38 of the CM Act, Chief Executive Officers were required to notify the CMC of a complaint or information or a matter (complaint) if the Chief Executive Officer "suspected" that the complaint involved, or may involve, official misconduct. The Amendment Act changes the notification requirements for Chief Executive Officers by only now requiring that the Commission be notified where a Chief Executive Officer "reasonably suspects" that the complaint involves corrupt conduct.

This amendment is consistent with the finding of the Independent Advisory Panel that the Commission's focus should be on investigating serious cases of corrupt conduct. The Amendment Act also changes section 40 of the CM Act to allow an expanded use of the Commission's directions power. This will give the Commission greater capacity to issue directions to agencies to ensure that only the more serious corrupt conduct matters are referred to the Commission. The Commission can also now dismiss or take no action in response to a complaint on the grounds that the complaint was not made in good faith; was made primarily for a mischievous purpose; or was made recklessly or maliciously.

New complaint process

Amendments to section 36 of the CM Act provide that a complaint made to the Commission about corruption must be made by way of statutory declaration. The Commission can decide that this requirement is not necessary in exceptional circumstances such as where the person making the complaint fears retaliation for making the complaint.

Next steps forward: implementation

The next step following the commencement of the Amendment Act will be for agencies and Chief Executive Officers and their delegates to reconsider and then redefine relevant integrity policies and practices so they are totally aligned with the changes implemented by the Amendment Act.

You might also be interested in...

Clayton Utz communications are intended to provide commentary and general information. They should not be relied upon as legal advice. Formal legal advice should be sought in particular transactions or on matters of interest arising from this bulletin. Persons listed may not be admitted in all states and territories.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Some comments from our readers…
“The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable”
“I often find critical information not available elsewhere”
“As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”

Mondaq Advice Centre (MACs)
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.