Inspector of the
Independent Commissioner against Corruption
The Inspector of the Independent Commissioner against Corruption is an independent officer of the Northern Territory Government appointed under the Independent Commissioner Against Corruption Act 2017 (the Act) to provide oversight of the ICAC.
The Inspector’s role is set out in Division 4 of Part 7 (Administration and Enforcement) of the Act.
The Inspector's functions are:
- evaluating the ICAC’s performance and reporting on the evaluation to the ICAC Minister (the Chief Minister) and the Legislative Assembly;
- dealing with complaints about the ICAC or its staff members; and
- making recommendations to the ICAC (or other public bodies) in relation to practices and procedures concerning performance of functions under the Act.
The Inspector is independent of, and not subject to, direction by any person as to how the Inspector performs the functions of the office (section 136(2)).
The Inspector is Mr Bruce McClintock SC. Mr McClintock was formally appointed for a term of five years, the statutory maximum, on 28 September 2018.
Power of the Inspector
In order to make an evaluation or deal with a complaint, the Inspector is entitled to full and free access to ICAC premises and all items in the possession or control of the ICAC. The ICAC and ICAC staff members are obligated to give the Inspector all reasonable assistance.
What kind of complaints can the Inspector deal with?
There is no express description of, or limitation on, the type of conduct by the ICAC or ICAC staff members which may be the subject of complaint to the Inspector under the Act. It may be assumed, however, that the Inspector would only deal with a complaint which involved:
- a credible allegation of abuse of power, misconduct or other form of impropriety; or
- a credible allegation of conduct that involved action or failure to act on the part of the ICAC or his staff of a serious nature that is contrary to law; or
- a credible allegation of unreasonable, conduct, oppressive or improperly discriminatory conduct, or conduct based to some extent on improper motives.
Nevertheless, the Inspector retains a discretion to deal with any complaint.
For example, while a complaint of short delay on the part of the ICAC in concluding an investigation may not be accepted for consideration, different considerations would apply if the delay was lengthy or inordinate.
What kind of complaints are outside the Inspector’s jurisdiction?
The Inspector’s powers are limited to dealing with conduct of the ICAC and his staff. The Inspector has no power to deal with the conduct of any other agency of the Northern Territory Government. The Inspector has, for example, no power under the Act to deal with complaints of police misconduct, complaints against the Children’s Commissioner, the Ombudsman or any other public body.
It follows that the Inspector has no power to deal with any matter involving the Commonwealth of Australia or any State or Territory other than the Northern Territory and there his power is limited to the ICAC.
The Inspector cannot deal with allegations concerning a person working outside government in a private capacity, for example, a small business owner or a consultant in a private sector firm.