The method of appointment and the powers and duties of the Reviewer are set out in Schedule 4 of the Independent Commissioner against Corruption Act 2012.
ICAC and the OPI
On 28 November 2012, the Independent Commissioner against Corruption Act 2012 (the ICAC Act) established the Independent Commissioner against Corruption (ICAC) and the Office for Public Integrity (OPI).
The principal function of ICAC, as stated in the ICAC Act, is to identify and investigate corruption in public administration and to assist inquiry agencies and public authorities to identify and deal with misconduct and maladministration in public administration.
The functions of OPI include receiving and assessing complaints and reports about public administration and referring matters for investigation.
ICAC has the power to access and inspect documents including financial records and search premises. Persons may also be required to answer questions at a hearing conducted by the Commissioner. However these powers are not unlimited. They can only be used in investigations into alleged corruption in public administration and strict procedures must be followed for their use.
The Reviewer of ICAC
The ICAC Act requires the Attorney-General to appoint a reviewer to conduct annual reviews examining the operations of ICAC and OPI during each financial year. An important aspect of the annual reviews involves consideration as to whether the powers under the ICAC Act were exercised in an appropriate manner and whether there was any evidence of maladministration in public administration on the part of ICAC or the employees of ICAC.
The Reviewer is required to consider whether there has been unreasonable delay in the conduct of investigations under the ICAC Act or unreasonable invasions of privacy in the course of investigations.
The Reviewer is also required to report on whether the practices and procedures of ICAC and OPI were effective and efficient throughout the reporting period.
A report on the annual review must be presented to the Attorney-General on or before 30 September in the following financial year. The Attorney-General must cause copies of the report to be laid before each House of Parliament within 12 sitting days of the receipt of the report.
Following the tabling of each annual report the Reviewer is invited to attend and give evidence before the Crime and Public Integrity Policy Committee of Parliament.
The Reviewer also has a compliance role to ensure that ICAC adheres to statutory record-keeping obligations under the Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Act 1979 (Cwth), the Telecommunications (Interception) Act 2012 (SA) and the Listening and Surveillance Devices Act 1972 (SA). This involves regular inspections and reports to the relevant Minister.
The Reviewer is empowered to conduct a review relating to relevant complaints received by the Reviewer. A relevant complaint is restricted to a complaint relating to an abuse of power, impropriety or other misconduct on the part of ICAC or employees of ICAC or OPI.
The Reviewer appointed by the Attorney-General is the Hon John Sulan QC, a former justice of the Supreme Court of South Australia.