Consideration of Deferred Prosecution Agreement scheme

On 16 March 2016, Australia’s Minister for Justice released a public consultation paper on a possible Australian scheme for deferred prosecution agreements (DPAs) for serious corporate crime. The Australian Government is considering the DPA scheme as an option to facilitate a more effective and efficient response to corporate crime by encouraging greater self-reporting by companies. The consultation paper (accessible here) considers whether a DPA scheme should be introduced in Australia, and if so, how such a scheme could be best structured. Responses to the consultation paper are due 2 May 2016.

Calls to establish National Integrity Commission

On 24 February 2016, the Australian Senate established a Select Committee to inquire into the adequacy of the Australian Government’s legislative, institutional and policy framework in addressing corruption and misconduct at a national level. A question to be considered by the Committee is whether a national integrity commission should be established. The Committee is due to report on its findings by 22 September 2016. Twenty one written submissions have been made to the inquiry and public hearings are ongoing. Further information on the submissions can be accessed here.

Please note that the anticipated election may disrupt further work of the Committee.

New funding for the AFP

The Australian Federal Government has announced an additional $15m in funding over the next three years to strengthen the capacity of the Australian Federal Police and specialist agencies to trace corrupt money flows in offshore jurisdictions, seize proceeds and engage legal teams to prosecute perpetrators. According to an Australian Government announcement, the funding will be used to establish 3 new foreign bribery investigation teams, which will include investigators, forensic accountants and proceeds of crime litigators.

Hearing held concerning Senate inquiry into foreign bribery

The Australian Senate Economics References Committee inquiry into foreign bribery has commenced public hearings. Hearings were held on 22 April 2016 and were attended by representatives from AUSTRAC (a government financial intelligence agency), the Australian Federal Police, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, the International Bar Association, and a former executive of an Australian company. The Committee is scheduled to release its report by 1 July 2016.

Please note that the anticipated election may disrupt further work of the Committee.