The NT Legislative Assembly (the Assembly) has announced it will now refer every Bill (unless it is urgent) to either the Social Policy Committee or the Economic Policy Scrutiny Committee.
The relevant Committee will then seek public submissions and if needed, hold hearings on the Bill, before reporting back to the Assembly on whether the Bill should be passed or amended. The Committee will also report on whether the Bill complies with fundamental legislative principles. The Member introducing a Bill will need to table a statement on the Bill’s compatibility with human rights.
The Committees and their relevant Members are:
The Committees will examine the Bills referred to them, and inquire into matters within their subject areas referred by the Assembly, a Minister, or on its own motion.
The first Bill the Assembly has referred to a Committee (the Social Policy Scrutiny Committee) for public consultation is the Independent Commissioner Against Corruption Bill 2017 (No 30 of 2017) (the ICAC Bill).
The aim of the Bill is to create an Independent Commissioner Against Corruption (ICAC), a new anti-corruption watchdog for the NT. The Commission will have a wide remit, but is focused on addressing the most serious corruption in the NT public sector. The Bill is a step towards delivering on the Government’s commitment to implement in principle, 50 of the 52 recommendations of the Report by Commissioner Martin AO QC, as a result of his Anti-Corruption, Integrity and Misconduct Inquiry (the Martin Report).
One change that was made is that the ICAC will be able to investigate corruption in local government elections as well as Territory elections, whereas Recommendation 12 of the Martin Report refers only to offences against the Electoral Act (No 11 of 2004).
The ICAC replaces the Commissioner for Public Interest Disclosures, and the ICAC Bill repeals the Public Interest Disclosure Act (No 38 of 2008) and has more substantial powers and a broader remit than the Commissioner for Public Interest Disclosures. It does not replace any other existing law enforcement or integrity body. The ICAC created by the Bill is an independent statutory office holder, but has broader jurisdiction and more extensive powers than the Commissioner for Public Interest Disclosures. Notably, the ICAC can investigate any public officer, including Members of the Legislative Assembly, and can do so of its own motion.
Chair of the Social Policy Scrutiny Committee, Ms Ah Kit (MLA) said:
The Social Policy Scrutiny Committee is now calling for submissions on the ICAC Bill, which are due by 29 September 2017 and for Public Hearings to be held on 9 October 2017 where the Committee will make recommendations regarding whether to pass or amend the Bill.
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Economic Policy Scrutiny Committee –
Social Policy Scrutiny Committee –
Call for Submissions – Independent Commissioner Against Corruption Bill –
Explanatory Statement, Media Release and Supporting Information - Independent Commissioner Against Corruption Bill 2017 (No 30 of 2017). Available from TimeBase LawOne Service
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