Australia: Government Bulletin - 15 October 2014

Operation Spector Report

On Monday 13 October 2014, the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) handed down its Operation Spector report (Report) following its investigation into the conduct of Joseph Camilleri, a former Railcorp manager and Mr Camilleri's sister, Carmen Attard, an employee of Housing NSW.

Operation Spector concerned allegations that Mr Camilleri corruptly received approximately $1.6 million from RailCorp contractors and employees and that Ms Attard, corruptly received $180,000 from Housing NSW employees. The money received by Mr Camilleri and Ms Attard was said to be for the benefit of Mr Camilleri's daughter.

The Report recommended that consideration be given to obtaining the advice of the Director of Public Prosecutions in relation to the prosecution of Mr Camilleri, Ms Attard, Ms Camilleri and the general manager of Projects and Tendering of a contractor to RailCorp who made payments of $428,000 to Mr Camilleri. In addition, the Report also made corrupt conduct findings against 3 other contractors to/employees of RailCorp.

Furthermore, the Report noted that all "organisations need to consider the broader applicability of their codes of conduct when faced with questions of staff conduct and not purely rely on the specific examples given" of unacceptable conduct given within the codes. This was in the context of the RailCorp Code of Conduct (Code) addressing the risks of external parties seeking to influence a public official and the staff understanding the Code to be focussed on the risks of external influence.

The Report noted that Transport for NSW has begun drafting a code of conduct for all of its agencies which encompasses a broader conflicts of interest policy.

Vexatious litigants

A recent decision of the Supreme Court of New South Wales looked at a novel situation that the NSW Attorney General encountered in its application under the Vexatious Proceedings Act 2008 (NSW). In a previous hearing, the Registrar made case management directions in the absence of the defendant, Mr Mahmoud, who did not appear due to a problem with his printer. On the next occasion Mr Mahmoud sought to set aside the Registrar's orders and brought a disqualification application.

Mr Mahmoud sought to disqualify Justice Schmidt, the Judge hearing the application to set aside the Registrar's orders, on the basis that as a female Judge, she would be "a feminist with leftist leanings, who would not give him a fair hearing". The Court in its decision noted that Mr Mahmoud based his argument on mere suspicion as to the views which female Judges might hold and an assumption that male Judges would not hold similar views.

The decision noted that Judges all hold personal views on a range of matters, but are under their oath of office to determine the underlying issues fairly and impartially. The underlying issues in this case included whether the Registrar's orders should be vacated and whether the matter should be listed for further directions. Mr Mahmoud could not show that a female Judge would not bring an impartial and unprejudiced mind to these issues.

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In the media

ICAC finds RailCorp senior manager corrupt
RailCorp's former head of train maintenance Joseph Camilleri could face prosecution for breaching the Crimes Act, the Independent Commission Against Corruption said on Monday, after it found he corruptly solicited hundreds of thousands of dollars from other rail employees and contractors. More...

Female judge asked to disqualify herself due to suspected 'feminist' and 'leftist' views
A Sydney man has tried to have a female Supreme Court judge disqualify herself from hearing a matter because he suspected she was a "feminist with leftist leanings" (12 October 2014) More...

High Court Green light to consorting laws
Attorney General Brad Hazzard and Minister for Police and Emergency Services Stuart Ayres welcomed the High Court's finding that NSW's anti-consorting laws are valid. The anti-consorting laws give police the powers they need to disrupt and dismantle criminal organisations, including outlaw motorcycle gangs (08 October 2014) High Court Green Light to Consorting Laws [PDF, 105KB]

NSW bikie consorting laws upheld: High Court
The High Court in Canberra has upheld the New South Wales anti-consorting laws, which make it an offence for convicted criminals to repeatedly associate with each other. Today the court found the laws are valid and there is no such right to freedom of association (08 October 2014) More...

NSW Law Society comments on Criminal Records Amendment (Historical Homosexual Offences) Bill 2014
In NSW, discrimination against a person based on their sexual orientation' is now prohibited.
The Committee notes that in NSW there exists legislation which permits the non-disclosure or annulment of old convictions (spent convictions) if that person has not reoffended for a period of 10 years (08 October 2014) More...

Hunter Health appeals negligence ruling relating to mental health patient
Hunter New England Health begins a High Court appeal today, stemming from a negligence ruling relating to a mental health patient, turned killer. The Health Service is appealing that decision, arguing that the appeal court erred in concluding it owed a duty of care to Mr Rose and his family (08 October 2014) More...

Time to disorganise crime: NSW push
NSW is pushing for national measures to combat organised crime including tough new laws to cut off financing and a nationwide register of firearms from cradle to grave. Criminal groups exist primarily for profit and law-enforcement agencies have been increasingly targeting the flow of money, confiscating assets and disrupting opportunities for criminal enterprise (03 October 2014) More...

Clothing, religious beliefs and racial vilification: NSW Bar Association
Comments which purport to link the wearing of clothing based on religious beliefs to risks relating to terrorism and particular races, nationalities or ethnicities may constitute racial vilification under s 20C of the Anti-Discrimination Act 1977 – NSW. It is self-evident that such ill-informed comment may have the tendency to incite hatred or violence towards women wearing the niqab or 'burqa' (03 October 2014) More...

In practice and courts

Case: Tajjour, Hawthorne, Forster V State Of New South Wales
Today the High Court by majority upheld the validity of s 93X of the Crimes Act 1900 - NSW which makes it an offence habitually to consort with convicted offenders. Section 93X provides that any person who habitually consorts with convicted offenders, after having been given an official warning in relation to each of those offenders, is guilty of an offence, punishable by imprisonment, fine, or both. Section 93Y provides that certain forms of consorting are to be disregarded if the person accused of consorting satisfies the court that the consorting was reasonable in the circumstances (08 October 2014) More...

ICAC: Operation Spector report furnished on 13 October 2014
The ICAC investigated allegations that Joseph Camilleri, former RailCorp general manager, maintenance contracts, and his sister, Carmen Attard, an employee at Housing NSW, used their positions as public officials to corruptly solicit funds from other people including public officials and government contractors. The ICAC is of the opinion that the advice of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) should be obtained with respect to the prosecution of Mr Camilleri, Mr McCarthy, Mr Cassar, Mrs Attard and Ms Camilleri for offences under the Crimes Act 1900.
The ICAC is also of the opinion that consideration should be given to the taking of action against Mrs Attard for breaches of the Housing NSW code of conduct with a view to terminating her services with that authority. More...

NSW LEC: Judicial Newsletter, September 2014
The Land and Environment Court (LEC) has made available the latest edition of its LEC Judicial Newsletter - September 2014 (undated).

NSW: Bail - Additional show cause offences: submissions The Council is seeking submissions from interested parties addressing the Terms of Reference.
Submissions should be sent to, 31 October 2014. The Bail Amendment Bill 2014 can be found here. The Review of the Bail Act 2013 undertaken by Mr John Hatzistergos can be found here.


Attorney General in and for the State of New South Wales v Mahmoud [2014] NSWSC 1378

PROCEDURE - case management orders - application to vacate Registrar's orders - orders vacated - new orders made
PROCEDURE - costs - security for costs - no order made
PROCEDURE - orders sought against a party not party to proceedings - no order made
PROCEDURE - adjournment application sought - refused
PROCEDURE - courts and judges generally - disqualification - apprehended bias - actual bias - application refused - reasons More...

Tajjour v New South Wales; Hawthorne v New South Wales; Forster v New South Wales [2014] HCA 35
Constitutional law – Implied freedom of political communication – Section 93X of Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) made it offence habitually to consort with convicted offenders after receiving official warning in relation to each convicted offender – Plaintiffs charged with offence
against s 93X – Whether s 93X infringes implied freedom of political communication.
Constitutional law – Implied freedom of association – Whether Constitution contains an implied freedom of association independent of implied freedom of political communication.
Constitutional law – Powers of State Parliaments – Provisions of international convention ratified by Australia but not incorporated by statute in Australian domestic law – Whether capable of limiting power of State Parliaments to enact inconsistent legislation.
Words and phrases – "effectively burden", "habitually consort", "proportionality", "reasonably appropriate and adapted". Crimes Act 1900 (NSW), ss 93W, 93X, 93Y. More...

B.S Fisher & E.A Fisher v Roads and Maritime Services [2014] NSWSC 858
ADMINISTRATIVE LAW - cancellation of plaintiff's accreditation - jurisdictional error - failure to take into account a relevant consideration
Transport Administration Act 1988 (NSW); Passenger Transport Act 1990 (NSW) More...

Troskie v NSW Department of Education & Communities [2014] NSWCATAD 155
ADMINISTRATIVE LAW - administrative review - access to government information - request for access to information in an internal investigation report of a complaint - refusal to grant access to information that is personal information about a person other than the access applicant and which was supplied in confidence - whether there was an overriding public interest against the disclosure of this information. Administrative Decisions Review Act 1997; Administrative and Civil Tribunal Act 2013;
Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 More...

Health Care Complaints Commission v Harley [2014] NSWCATOD 110
ADMINISTRATIVE LAW -Civil and Administrative Tribunal. Professional disciplinary proceedings against a nurse Where nurse has surrendered registration and undertaken not to reapply - Whether or not in the interests of the public for complaint to be heard. Health Practitioner Regulation National Law (NSW) More...



Regulations and other miscellaneous instruments

Parole Orders (Transfer) (Corresponding Laws) Notice 2014 (2014-663) — published Gazette No 86 of 10 October 2014, page 3386
The object of this Notice is to declare certain laws of other Australian jurisdictions to be corresponding laws to the Parole Orders (Transfer) Act 1983 of New South Wales. Under that Act, parole orders made under a law of New South Wales can be registered as corresponding laws and enforced in relevant jurisdictions.

This publication does not deal with every important topic or change in law and is not intended to be relied upon as a substitute for legal or other advice that may be relevant to the reader's specific circumstances. If you have found this publication of interest and would like to know more or wish to obtain legal advice relevant to your circumstances please contact one of the named individuals listed.

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Christine Jones
Kim Nguyen
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