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Select Committee on a National Integrity Commission
05/07/2017
Adequacy of the Australian government's framework for addressing corruption and misconduct

ABLETT, Ms Maia, Acting Assistant Secretary, Legal Policy Branch, Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet

CASIMIR, Mr Paul, Director, Integrity, Australian Public Service Commission

CROZIER, Commander Peter, Manager, Criminal Assets, Fraud and Anti-Corruption, Australian Federal Police

FOSTER, Ms Stephanie, Deputy Public Service Commissioner, Australian Public Service Commission

GRIFFIN, Mr Michael, AM, Integrity Commissioner, Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity

HOPKINS, Acting Commander Paul, Acting Manager, Crime Operations, Australian Federal Police

KELLY, Ms Elizabeth, Deputy Secretary, Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet

LLOYD, the Hon. John, PSM, Australian Public Service Commissioner, Australian Public Service Commission

LYNCH, Ms Philippa, First Assistant Secretary, Government Division, Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet

ROSE, Ms Nicole, PSM, Deputy Secretary, Criminal Justice Group, Attorney-General's Department

SHARP, Mr Tom, Acting Director, Criminal Law Reform Section, Attorney-General's Department

STORY, Mr William, Assistant Secretary, Strategic Coordination Unit, Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet

WILLIAMS, Ms Kelly, Assistant Secretary, Criminal Law Policy Branch, Attorney-General's Department

[14:22]

CHAIR: Welcome, and thank you for participating in this panel. The purpose of this panel is to allow the committee to ask questions about the Commonwealth's integrity framework in its entirety; coordination, communication and cooperation between relevant agencies; and any other matters arising from today's hearing. I will not ask you to state your names again, unless the capacity in which you are appearing differs from that when you appeared earlier today. Perhaps it might be best to provide officers who appeared earlier an opportunity now to provide any additional information that has come to pass since their appearance this morning. Perhaps you could deal with that as an opening statement, then we will move to questions.

Cmdr Crozier : I can respond in relation to a couple of questions on notice that we took, or I can do that at the end of the process, if you wish.

CHAIR: I am happy for you to do it now.

Cmdr Crozier : There are two. The first one is in relation to the One Nation matter that was addressed. In relation to the senator's questions regarding the status of the AFP's evaluation in the referral of the One Nation matter, I can advise the matter remains under evaluation and it would not be appropriate to provide any further information at this time.

With regard to the budget that I hold, I do just clarify some of those comments that were made. I have a specific budget within my area, and that is where things got a bit confused. But that is just specifically to run some business. I do not hold a budget in relation to the staffing outside of Canberra, in terms of staffing. Also, I do not hold a budget in relation to some technical aspects of the AFP. So I reiterate what I said: it is a very fluid issue. So, in a fixed number, I do not actually have that and I would have to provide it at a later stage, if that were still sought.

CHAIR: No. I understand that, Commander. Perhaps it would be easier for you to respond to the criticism that the Fraud and Anti-Corruption Centre is focused too strongly on foreign bribery matters. Committee members have been attempting to gauge what level of overall resourcing goes to other corruption integrity type matters as opposed to foreign bribery. To the extent that you are able to capture that, even if it is in a proportional sense, it would assist the committee.

Cmdr Crozier : Okay. I will come back with a response in relation to that—on notice.

CHAIR: Thank you very much. Are there statements from anyone else?

Ms Rose : Chair, I would not mind just clarifying one of the earlier questions about whether ACIC or the Institute of Criminology within ACIC had data on serious and organised crime involvement in public sector corruption. We got some information on that in the break. The AIC, the Australian Institute of Criminology, notes public perceptions assessments which indicate Australia is perceived to be one of the least corrupt countries globally. Apart from some isolated case studies in general assessments of the extent of such risks, most official data does not indicate the extent of serious and organised crime group involvement in cases within their jurisdiction. In comparison with volume crime statistics, administrative data on reported corruption in the Australian public sector shows few identified complaints each year, and there was little identification of serious and organised crime gang involvement in those public sector corruption allegations investigated.

CHAIR: That is from the perspective of the agency in that case, which does focus on serious and organised crime type corruption.

Ms Rose : Correct.

CHAIR: Thank you. Are there any other statements from anyone? No. We will move to questions then. Since we were just talking about Professor Brown from Griffith University with Mr Griffin I thought I might start with his comments to the committee that 'it appears there is quite a lot of cooperation between anticorruption bodies, but it is largely ad hoc and there does not appear to be a well-institutionalised cooperation mechanism'. How would you respond to that assessment?

Mr Lloyd : Senator, one facet of this is that I chair what is called the Integrity Agencies Group. It has most of the parties at this table: Prime Minister and Cabinet, Attorney-General's, Mr Griffin, the AFP, the Crime Commission and the Auditor-General. We generally meet twice a year. We canvas issues that impact upon integrity. We invite people to attend to give us information which is current and relevant and we use it as a source to ensure there are some shared understandings and coordination across the area of promoting integrity, as such—it is the integrity agencies committee. That is one facet of trying to ensure that there is a degree of coordination in this area.

CHAIR: If we look at the recent example of the Australian tax office—and Mr Griffin was explaining that the joint parliamentary committee had made recommendations about that being an area that government consider bringing within the purview of ACLEI—would recommendations of that character come out of your working group?

Mr Lloyd : They may, but they have not. I would think it is unlikely. It is more to, as I said, canvass contemporary issues, what we are picking up through each of our engagements in the area of integrity, sharing some of the advice and publications we might be putting out, and those sorts of issues.

Mr Griffin : Chair, if I might just add to Mr Lloyd's response. He has described the high-level engagement that most of the agencies at this table have. There is also a very frequent and coherent relationship across agencies in the community of practice, where at the officer level they are meeting regularly, sharing insights and developing programs together that advise their own agencies. I can indicate that the tax office has voluntarily participated in that part of it that we at ACLEI have hosted for some time now to develop and have an awareness and understanding of what has been coming out of the community of practice.

CHAIR: So this is the community of practice more broadly than just those areas that come within the ACLEI?

Mr Griffin : Correct.

CHAIR: Scope?

Mr Griffin : Yes.

CHAIR: I was thinking in relation to the ATO. The ATO would have been one of the participants in the Fraud and Anti-Corruption centre arrangements—yes?

Cmdr Crozier : That is correct.

CHAIR: Okay. Were they to be moved to ACLEI, that would change the nature of what happens in Fraud and Anti-Corruption, or would that continue on as well?

Cmdr Crozier : No. It would not change. We would expect that all those agencies would still be part of the Fraud and Anti-Corruption centre. What you are indicating to me is some sort of sense of a change of the oversight frameworks and arrangements relative to that. But the Fraud and Anti-Corruption centre and the Serious Financial Crime Taskforce that sit within that would still be doing their operations as they would in terms of external issues outside of the tax office.

CHAIR: I would assume information from the tax office would be critical to your activities as well.

Cmdr Crozier : That is true.

CHAIR: Whereas ACLEI, picking up responsibility for, in a sense, integrity issues within the Australian tax office, could be quite independent of that.

Cmdr Crozier : I think, in terms of a scenario, we would still look across the FAC centre and across the AFP in combination with our partners, as the commissioner mentioned. We would still be looking at what would be the best way to actually undertake the investigation and who would have the best skill base to be able to do that. It is likely it might come out of elements of the AFP to provide elements of assistance to that investigation.

CHAIR: Which you currently do with ACLEI?

Mr Griffin : What I did not mention, Chair, is the monthly joint management group, where ACLEI has a presence and deals with all of those agencies. There is a constant communication. Rather than describing it as ad hoc, I think it is a very well-established process, where we are invited to the table at the joint management group of the broader law enforcement agencies. We have a presence, an understanding and the opportunity to contribute on a monthly basis in addition to the community of practice side of the house and the higher level meetings. So there is a good dialogue across agencies.

CHAIR: Perhaps you should describe for us what the community of practice means. What are you referring to there?

Mr Griffin : What I am referring to is my earlier reference to having operationalised our corruption prevention side of the house in a cooperative arrangement with the agencies within our jurisdiction and others who have, through dialogue with outreach, agreed to come along and participate such as the tax office and, I think, social services and state agencies. In the community of practice there is an ongoing dialogue about the vulnerabilities that we are seeing and the risks in the integrity issues across all of those spheres. They then develop packages which are shared amongst them and go to the other agencies. Training is delivered as well.

CHAIR: Which the Fraud and Anti-Corruption centre is doing as well, but you are essentially doing that in partnership—is that correct?

Mr Griffin : We are certainly talking to each other about it, as I understand it.

Cmdr Crozier : The matters that ACLEI are addressing are very specifically around some of those corruption bases whereas the Fraud and the Anti-Corruption is quite broad and includes a range of other crime types—broader fraud related issues and broader anticorruption, foreign bribery and those sorts of matters both within agencies and outside.

CHAIR: If we look at the Commonwealth's multiagency approach, I am exploring the difference between the state integrity commissions that have a much more general scope and an environment where, federally, we are looking at ACLEI focusing on high-risk corruption areas and the AFP Fraud and Anti-Corruption centre focusing on more general corruption areas. That, in one way, simplifies the model—and I am sure there are exceptions to it—in comparison to the various state models. It is a decision to go down the path of isolating high-risk areas and taking a specific approach there and leaving with the AFP the potentially lower risk areas. Commander, is there a flaw in the schema that I have just painted?

Cmdr Crozier : I would not want to describe anything as a flaw. There are always opportunities for us to continue to work more collaboratively where we need to, and some of those matters that we look at are on a case-by-case basis of which agencies we may bring in to assist us and what capabilities they bring to some of those discussions and then the determination of which treatment we put against it. I have a limited capacity to respond on ACLEI's mandate—that is really for the commissioner—but, as an organisation, through not only the Fraud and Anti-Corruption Centre but other elements of the AFP, we bring a lot of specialist capability to whatever crime type we are dealing with. As Paul mentioned, we rarely do anything that is not done in partnership. It is about providing that collective capacity to understand what it is we are dealing with first and then how best we treat it.

Mr Griffin : It also allows ACLEI access to a very highly specialised skill set and a surge capacity, should we find ourselves in that position. It is quite common for us to reach out to FAC to seek their assistance in prosecuting or proceeding with our investigative function.

CHAIR: Without wanting you to anticipate what might be the next high-profile corruption case like the ATO one, are there other areas, Mr Griffin, that seem obvious to you that have not been recommended to be addressed by ACLEI? You mentioned that Social Services is working in outreach. Are there areas within Social Services where it would make sense to address high-risk areas of corruption?

Mr Griffin : Because that has not been within jurisdiction, we have not addressed it. I could not speak with any authority on what is happening in the agencies outside jurisdiction, solely because we have not gone in and looked at it.

CHAIR: And that may well be subject to the Open Government partnership review of jurisdiction for ACLEI and the Fraud and Anti-Corruption Centre, which will be addressed early next year.

Ms Rose : Yes, correct.

Cmdr Crozier : I was just going to finish in relation to the matter we were talking about with the ATO. That portion of the investigation which relates to the ATO, with potentially the alleged involvement of offenders, is not a small part but is a portion of the very broad investigation that was undertaken, which would still be undertaken by elements of the AFP in any case. That very broad criminal mandate relative to that behaviour of individuals outside of that—with a significant number of people alleged to be involved—would have been undertaken by AFP elements with partners. The other specialised element in relation to the alleged offending of certain officers is somewhat separate to the broader investigation that we have undertaken of, as I say, a significant number of other offenders in that space.

CHAIR: Other offenders related to that same activity?

Cmdr Crozier : The offenders related to that direct fraud offending against the ATO.

CHAIR: I understand that and I do not think anyone is reflecting on the AFP's work there as being anything other than exemplary.

Cmdr Crozier : And I am not trying to defend our position in relation to that. I am just saying the element which related to the taxation officers is not necessarily directly around the other, larger fraud element that was investigated.

CHAIR: No, I understand. I was perhaps more quipping that action around this area seems to follow incidents rather than making any suggestion about how those particular incidents were managed.

Senator KAKOSCHKE-MOORE: I have a question flowing on from one of the chair's last questions, Mr Griffin, asking whether you had turned your mind to other agencies that are not within your purview. And quite rightly you had not, because they are not within your purview. But I wondered whether it is open to you to make recommendations or suggestions to the parliamentary joint committee. When you mentioned that the Department of Agriculture is one area that you will be looking into, that seemed to me to be a less obvious corruption risk than, say, concerns that have flowed from some programs within the Department of Education, for example, where there was rorting in family day care and in vocational education and training. Is it open to you to, just from the observations you have in media reporting, to make recommendations about work that you could do outside your current areas?

Mr Griffin : It is certainly envisaged by the act that I can make recommendations to government on the evolutions of the law and on practices and procedures that we observe. So, yes, we can do that.

Senator KAKOSCHKE-MOORE: I want to go back to the issue of the open government partnership. I asked some questions earlier around Australia announcing its intention to join, or to sign up, and then when we were officially considered to have signed up. Mr Story, I think you might be able to help me with this one. I asked earlier what month of the year Australia announced its intention to sign up to the open government partnership.

Mr Story : In fact, the former, Labor, government announced its intention to join in May 2013. The Turnbull government joined formally in November 2015, and we released our action plan in December 2016.

Senator KAKOSCHKE-MOORE: And in terms of Australia's involvement in this process, compared with other jurisdictions, other countries, was it a three-year delay between announcing an intention to join and then the development of the first action plan? Did other countries also experience a three-year delay? Were we faster or slower than other member countries?

Mr Story : I do not think I can speculate, to be honest. I do not actually know. So, why don't I take that on notice and we can come back to you, perhaps very quickly, through the secretariat this afternoon.

Senator KAKOSCHKE-MOORE: That would be fantastic; thank you. The other area I want to touch on is whether or not the Commonwealth—and I do not mind who answers this; one or more of you might want to contribute—coordinates and collaborates with the states on corruption issues if there could be overlap or referrals that could be helpful between the two jurisdictions.

Cmdr Crozier : In terms of law enforcement, the AFP have very strong relationships with our law enforcement partners at a domestic level across the federal sphere and internationally as well. So, if there were investigations that touched on jurisdictions and different aspects of jurisdiction, then we obviously would work very closely with them to determine, again, the best course of action and what might be the best effective way to do the investigation.

Senator KAKOSCHKE-MOORE: Do any of the other agencies want to comment on any interaction you have with state counterparts or other agencies?

Mr Griffin : Yes, if I might. The heads from the integrity agency bodies or anticorruption commissions meet formally twice a year. We come together on a circular basis by state. That is also done by our legal officers and also by our corruption prevention folk. So, we are constantly in engagement with the state agencies on all issues relating to the integrity and anticorruption space that I work in and that they work in.

Ms Rose : Similarly, ministers for justice and attorneys-general sit on a ministerial group, Law, Crime and Community Safety—they have changed the name—which meets four times in the year. There is also a National Policing Senior Officers Group that meets twice a year. And there's an ANZPAA policing group. All those three groups look at anticorruption issues across states and territories, and the Commonwealth.

Mr Lloyd : Myself and public service commissioners for states, territories and New Zealand meet twice a year. We share information about matters of interest to employment, recruitment and the whole gamut of workforce, administration and public sectors. At times, developments in this area emerge—misconduct, particularly, and how that is handled. But that is not a formal issue. It is not a regular issue, but there is a sharing of information at times, as circumstance and developments dictate.

Senator KAKOSCHKE-MOORE: I just have one final question, Mr Griffin. Going back to my earlier question to you around your ability to make recommendations concerning the work that your agency could be involved in and the departments you could, perhaps, investigate, have you made any such recommendations during your term as commissioner?

Mr Griffin : No. The recommendations we make are about the legislation and the processes and procedures. We are not equipped to go and look at other agencies and make recommendations to government about those, because, as I said earlier, we just do not have the visibility of what is happening in those environments. My resources had to be directed to the agencies within jurisdiction. So it is about processes and procedures—the law as it affects my agency rather than other agencies.

Senator KAKOSCHKE-MOORE: So you could not then use information that you have just observed in the media around potential corruption in other agencies to inform your decisions? You are restricted to the agencies you are currently tasked with looking into now?

Mr Griffin : Correct. We have in the past looked at that sort of information that you have described and then done an assessment of it to determine whether or not it applies to an agency within jurisdiction. If it does, we have then commenced own motion investigations into that. But if it is outside jurisdiction, then, obviously, it is ultra vires for me.

Senator KAKOSCHKE-MOORE: Thank you. That clears it up for me.

CHAIR: Mr Griffin, while we are on this point, we discussed earlier about whether the joint parliamentary committee might have a broader scope to then identify areas that then become high risk and make recommendations. Apart from the joint parliamentary committee, who else would be well placed to recommend to government these emerging risk areas? Is there an existing process, a cooperative process, that would easily identify that?

Mr Griffin : From my observations of the last two and a half years, Chair, we work closely with the portfolio department, AGD, and we engage on that. They are best positioned to advise on those sorts of issues.

CHAIR: So AGD working with the AFP, in terms of the work that they are doing through the Fraud and Anti-Corruption Centre, would be the best avenue to have that visibility?

Mr Griffin : Yes. And with Mr Lloyd, through the matters that he sees in the broader public sector area—all of those involvements informing that process.

Senator SMITH: I just want to go back to a comment that the Commonwealth Ombudsman made to this inquiry. I do not know if it was raised by committee members earlier today when I was absent. The Commonwealth Ombudsman, just to be clear, Mr Lloyd, does not participate on this interagency group?

Mr Lloyd : He does.

Senator SMITH: This will be interesting then. The Commonwealth Ombudsman has suggested that:

One way of improving the current system would be to assign a lead coordination role on a permanent basis to one of the already established oversight bodies. A clear champion of the whole-of-government integrity system may strengthen public confidence in that system. It would also allow for a 'one-stop-shop' for members of the public seeking guidance on Australia's anti-corruption and integrity bodies.

I was just curious to know whether others align with that view of the Commonwealth Ombudsman and, if not, why not? What might be some of the limitations of the proposition? Or is there someone amongst you who is regarded as having the lead role? Are you familiar with the view, Mr Lloyd?

Mr Lloyd : I am aware of it, but it has been some time since I might have read that submission. My sense is that making a lead agency, or being nominated, does have some risks with it. The areas are very diverse. As you look around the table you can see the various responsibilities of the parties here, and to have a particular agency conversant in the various nuances, interactions and overlaps of the boundaries in the various bodies here, I think, would be quite challenging and may not deliver the apparent efficiencies that are suggested in that quote.

Senator SMITH: Mr Griffin, do you have a view?

Mr Griffin : I would agree with what Mr Lloyd has just said.

Senator SMITH: Ms Lynch, or Ms Kelly?

Ms Kelly : I do not have anything to add.

Senator SMITH: Does that mean that you agree with Mr Lloyd and Mr Griffin?

Ms Kelly : Yes.

Senator SMITH: Are there any other comments, Ms Rose?

Ms Rose : No.

Senator SMITH: Secondly, is there a more philosophical question here that the idea of having a variety of agencies and responsible authorities means that there is not a concentration of power in one place and that, therefore, the chance of that consolidated power being corrupted and the risk that arises from that is actually the thematic consideration of the thematic decision that has been taken in terms of justifying the multiagency approach? Does that make sense? If you had a single reference point, a consolidation of authority and power, and that was to become corrupted the whole system would be corrupted; whereas, if you have dispersed authority and dispersed power, if one of those dispersal points finds itself corrected, the whole system does not fail because you have these alternative sources of authority. Does that make sense, Commander Hopkins?

Cmdr Hopkins : Senator, I think you are right. My dealings are mainly in organised crime. If you look at organised crime, they are continually looking for a weak link, or as they call it a 'door' to corruption. They look at corruption a little bit differently. Corruption to them is how to beat a loophole in the system, and they mean 'corruption' in not necessarily a government body—

Senator SMITH: We did not invite them to appear, so this is very, very illuminating, Commander Hopkins. They look for holes in the system, whether it be a loophole in the legislation, whether it be a loophole in the import duties or whatever it may be. They are continually searching for that. I think all of our agencies here are continually looking to identify and close those loopholes. To give you an example: a task force is set up—the Trident task force or the Polaris task force—is set up to identify holes and loopholes on the border systems on the waterfront. That is corruption but it is not necessarily of a government agency. Perhaps it is a non-government agency or the Painters and Dockers—who knows—but they are looking for some way to beat the system, and we are all looking to identify those loopholes and close them. I do agree that a disparity of agencies all looking at closing the loopholes from different perspectives is like a good team. The best teams are all sorts of people from diverse backgrounds and diverse approaches approaching and solving the problem and bringing their skills. I think that is what Commander Crozier was talking about in the FACC. It is about bringing all the different agencies together and bringing their disparate skills, whether they be police or lawyers or whether they be good investigators from another area, and looking at the problem from different areas. I think it is a very, very good comment.

Senator SMITH: That was the point that you made, Commander Crozier: that one of the positive evolutions of the system was that there were greater partnerships, meaning people were bringing their specialist skills, as opposed to general skills, to the issue of identifying corruption and then tackling corruption.

Cmdr Crozier : If you are looking for me to comment, I continue to back up what I have said. My point is that having those skills, having a clear understanding of the capabilities that exist in your agency where they fit along a continuum of options and being able to best provide that capability to develop that option and put that treatment in place, I think, have proven very effective for us.

Senator SMITH: Ms Foster, do you have any observations or comments on the question that I put, in terms of the philosophical justification of having dispersed points of authority as opposed to a one-stop shop, a lead coordination role?

Ms Foster : My observation would be that each of us is clear about where we have the lead, and our roles are actually different. We are also clear about when we need to collaborate across those boundaries. I think the current system where it is very clear that the Public Service Commissioner has responsibility for the integrity and conduct of the Public Service and the Integrity Commissioner has his specific role actually serves us very well. We are also very clear about when something needs to be handed from one jurisdiction to the other, and we have, I think, a seamless history of doing that effectively.

Senator SMITH: Corruption is more likely to occur where those distinctions and boundaries are less clear? I am just imagining corrupt countries, for example—well, my perception of corrupt countries—where the delineation between one person's role is unclear, like a law enforcement officer might consider themselves an elected official at a particular border point in South America, or something.

CHAIR: A tourism facilitator!

Ms Foster : The point I was trying to make was that each of the responsible officers is able to bring their particular expertise to bear, so that we get the best possible result in each of the areas, rather than a kind of conglomerate, which might not be specifically expert in any one of the areas. If there were gaps between them then that would be a problem, but that is not my experience.

Senator SMITH: I want to go to the issue of the audit committees that exist in departments and agencies. The Auditor-General has reflected on their competency in recent times. One of the audit committee's specific roles is to review reports of fraud by management in particular agencies and departments. In your own experiences, do you find audit committees are properly constituted, regularly meet and are capable of finding that lower level fraud in their organisations across departments and agencies?

Ms Kelly : My experience would indicate that the role of audit committees in relation to fraud is to ensure that there are appropriate systems of fraud prevention and detection in place. It is an assurance role for the secretary that the committee plays. They are responsible for determining that appropriate training in relation to fraud awareness takes place, that there is a system for the reporting and investigation of fraud matters, and that fraud matters are appropriately dealt with, whether it be through a compliance lens or prosecution action, as also occurs. So it is at the systemic level.

If there are very significant major instances, they might not get down to the specific level. But my experience of audit committees is that they are about at the systemic level rather than the individual case. But they play a very important role in ensuring that systems are in place within agencies to deal appropriately with fraud.

Senator SMITH: I am curious to know about the evolving nature of corruption. I can understand that audit committees and functions can deal with fraud and corruption that they might be exposed to or familiar with, but how do we keep them abreast of those emerging trends from organised crime figures et cetera? Mr Griffin, you did mention the community of practice. In our discussion, that does sound like very active engagement: 'We've found a new technique. This is what it looks like. This is what you should prepare yourself for.' How do we ensure that the evolving nature of corruption is properly fed back into the Public Service and law enforcement to make sure that those system changes do take place?

The integrity agencies group meets twice a year. How do we ensure that that is actually being fed back into that broad political, parliamentary and departmental area?

Mr Griffin : I can speak only for my own jurisdiction, but I am in the happy position to inform you that I have been invited by each of the secretaries and the CEOs to visit, to attend audit committee meetings, to speak to them and to update them on what we are doing and the insights that we are seeing. I have my own audit committee. I find it tremendously valuable to have the insights and the perspectives from very senior folk who have exposure in a whole range of other areas to challenge what we do, and I see that in the audit committees of the jurisdiction agencies that I have been to, and the secretaries and the CEOs have been keen for me to do that.

Senator SMITH: That is valuable. Is that because you have taken the initiative to speak to secretaries and they have invited you, or is it because they have taken the initiative and thought, 'It would be good to have Mr Griffin and his people come and speak to us'? I am always curious about how that actually works. You mentioned earlier that the parliamentary joint committee had taken you on their site visits et cetera. So is this because you and your agency have been proactive, or is there a level of awareness across departments and agencies that this is something that should be done?

Mr Griffin : I am confident it is both.

Senator SMITH: That is the right answer.

Ms Kelly : If I could just comment from the agency perspective, most large program agencies will have a fraud branch, whether it is a branch in its own right or as part of a broader compliance function. For serious fraud matters they work very closely with the Australian Federal Police and in that way are exposed to and are very much part of evolving mechanisms for fraud and corruption. So my experience is that they do remain, through the AFP, very well connected to those sorts of developments.

Senator SMITH: Thank you.

CHAIR: Just before we close, could I go back to Acting Commander Hopkins's earlier discussion about what I will call—it is my coining of it—the team integrity approach. I can understand that from the Ombudsman's point of view he is dealing with complainants and may be a bit closer to the public perception of how to get a particular matter dealt with at Commonwealth level, so my question to all of you would be: how do we better deal with public confidence about our national integrity framework?

Ms Rose : Not knowing about the quote and not having read it in full, I guess my first question would be: what does a one-stop shop actually mean? Is it just communication to the community, or is it management of the entire process? I think that is what we have continued to talk about here, and I think the team approach is a great way of saying it. Anticorruption issues have become a requirement for every single agency, so it has been very much that we are not going to vest it in just one agency and let everyone else forget about it. Each of us is doing it ourselves, and it is a responsibility. So I think the question that comes then is: what does a one-stop shop mean? We all have responsibilities within this process, but does a one-stop shop mean that we all give those up and hand them to someone and then we do not have to worry about it? That has been the concern: that we will not then have the reach across the areas that we currently do, the focus that we currently do and the expertise in each of our areas that we currently have. So I think that is the team approach. It is a really important issue that we are all taking responsibility for that. But I do not know whether the Ombudsman is saying it is a one-stop shop for communication, so just a coordination role, or whether it is an entire management of that role.

CHAIR: If it is just a coordination role, and if the main objective is to make processes appear more coherent for the public at large, how would you address that?

Ms Rose : I do not think anyone would have an objection to addressing perceptions. I mean, that sounds to be as simple as reporting.

CHAIR: In some cases it is reporting. I think in part, with the work that the AFP does, for instance, it is the public reporting end of it that is not necessarily as obvious to the person on the street—

Ms Rose : Yes.

CHAIR: —as it might be, for instance, with Mr Griffin's framework. The reporting element is clearly part of how they were established and the structures built around ACLEI's operations. But the question for us is that if we want to build a National Integrity Framework that appears more cohesive to people that the Ombudsman would engage with, how do we better do that? That is really the question, and I am hoping you might have some useful insights.

Mr Lloyd : One observation I would make is that at times when cases come to light people are very defensive and sometimes I think we need to say that a case being discovered, being investigated, does show that the system is working. We will never be able to get it perfect. It would be ideal if we could, but we should be realistic. There are 150,000 people working in the public service and I just think we can perhaps at times indicate that a case is occurring—that it is bad and it is unacceptable—but the fact is that it demonstrates that the system is working.

CHAIR: Yes, and I think communicating that is one of the challenges, especially in cases that, as Commander Crozier would say, might take 7½ years to get from point A to point B. Reporting is one means of doing that, but maybe reporting in a one-stop shop fashion might improve the way government gets that message across. Any other insights?

Ms Foster : Mr Griffin was saying before that he did not feel it was seemly to be promoting himself, but there may be some merit in a way of presenting the government's anti-corruption system in a coherent way to the public, without forcing constructed links at the agency level that would not add value, but there might be a presentational response we could take that would make it easier for the public to both understand and have confidence in access.

CHAIR: In part, I think Mr Griffin alluded to that, or at least in my mind, when we explored ACLEI as a name, and how relevant it is to the current scope that ACLEI has, or indeed, what may be their future scope. That may be one simple way to address that area.

Cmdr Crozier : There is the cultural part of some of, say, the investigations the AFP undertakes, and for a long time it was always, 'We won't be making any comment about the investigation into the court process, because there's a potential issue around impacting on the success of a prosecution.' But as an organisation, and also across our partners, we have become so much better at actually getting messages out, because there is little value in an incident occurring and something we have disrupted not really becoming knowledge to people around behaviours that we stopped three or four years down the track—so, being able to sometimes de-identify the material or the situation and be able to put the messages out saying, 'Agencies are doing this.' We note the potential impact on prosecutions, but it is also important to stop—

CHAIR: Prevention.

Cmdr Crozier : impact on vulnerabilities as we go through that process so that real cultural change is actually happening in that space.

CHAIR: I think you are right. It is not only the prevention element but the integrity element as well. People want to be able to see that their agencies are actually achieving outcomes. On the one hand, when you have a particular case occurring, you have information readily available which says, 'Yes, this is a new evolving behaviour, but these are the ones that have been resolved in the last two years.' That sort of information coming forward would be helpful as well. If you do not have any other suggestions, I think we have exhausted ourselves.

Senator SMITH: It was discovered that, of the countries that are ranked higher than Australia in terms of having the least corruption, only one of them has a national integrity commission or anticorruption function—

Ms Rose : Singapore.

Senator SMITH: and that is Singapore.

CHAIR: With a particular history for Singapore, too.

Senator SMITH: Yes.

CHAIR: Thank you very much. I was not sure that this discussion would be as constructive as I think it has been, so I thank everyone for their participation. We appreciate your time. I will just check with committee members that we are happy for the deadline to return questions taken on notice from today's proceedings to be Wednesday, 19 July. There are no issues with that date. Thank you very much. The committee has agreed to answers to questions on notice being returned by Wednesday, 19 July. I thank all witnesses for their evidence to the committee today. I also thank Hansard, Broadcasting and the secretariat.

Committee adjourned at 15:11