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Tuesday, 27 November 2012
Page: 9828

Senator WRIGHT (South Australia) (13:39): I rise to make some brief remarks in support of the Law Enforcement Integrity Legislation Amendment Bill 2012. Last year, I was privileged to sit as a member of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on the Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity that considered the possible introduction of a law enforcement integrity testing framework. Many of the submissions to that inquiry supported the introduction of integrity testing within certain Commonwealth law enforcement agencies such as the Australian Commission for Law Enforcement and Integrity, the Australian Federal Police and the Australian Crime Commission. They were all supportive of the concept of introducing integrity testing. That committee inquiry and report considered integrity testing as an important investigative tool and one of the many measures that may be in place to combat infiltration by organised crime groups and corrupt conduct in law enforcement agencies.

Integrity testing provides another tool for combating corruption. As one stakeholder said:

It will not be a panacea and it will not be the right method for every agency or in every instance; however, for the right situations, it will be useful to have the ability to conduct integrity testing.

This bill seeks to implement the recommendations of that committee, which investigated this concept thoroughly—namely, that targeted integrity testing be applied to Commonwealth law enforcement agencies to increase resistance and respond to corruption. The bill does this in a way that maintains oversight and accountability for such integrity testing, which is extremely important. For example, agencies will be required to notify the Integrity Commissioner as soon as practicable after the authorisation of each integrity test. In addition, the Ombudsman maintains powers under relevant legislation to inspect records of controlled operations, surveillance device warrants and authorisations and occasions where information obtained through covert powers is used or communicated. This will include records made in relation to integrity tests. For these reasons, the Australian Greens support the passage of this bill this year.