The Minister for Home Affairs and Minister for Justice has announced new laws to increase the level of resistance to corruption of Commonwealth law enforcement agencies. The Minister described the Bill as an important step in weeding out corruption from the public sector. The Law Enforcement Integrity Legislation Amendment Bill 2012 will contain three key measures:
- the introduction of targeted integrity testing for Australian Federal Police (AFP), Australian Crime Commission (ACC) and Australian Customs and Border Protection Service (Customs) officers who are suspected of corrupt conduct. Integrity tests are covert operations designed to test whether an official will respond to a stimulated or controlled stimulation in a manner that is inconsistent with the agency's standards of integrity. Senior officers will be able to authorise integrity testing where they have a reasonable suspicion that an offence has been or is likely to committed which is punishable by at least 12 months' imprisonment.
- the bill will extend the jurisdiction of the Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity (ACLEI) to include three new agencies, namely: the Australian Transactions Reporting and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC), CrimeTrac and prescribed staff in the Department for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry. ACLEI already has oversight over the AFP, ACC and Customs. ACLEI's jurisdiction will be extended on 1 July 2013 to enable compliance and administrative arrangements to be put in place.
- the powers of the Customs CEO will be strengthened to deal with suspected corruption and will include: authorising drug and alcohol tests; the ability to dismiss employees for serious misconduct; and the ability to issue mandatory reporting requirements where staff will be required to report serious misconduct.