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Locating the ethical in the integrity branch: Towards a theoretical framework for ethics in oversight bodies

Haigh, Y. (2013) Locating the ethical in the integrity branch: Towards a theoretical framework for ethics in oversight bodies. Australasian Parliamentary Review, 28 (2). pp. 46-55.

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Integrity agencies investigate the decisions and actions of public sector employees and members of parliament. Integrity agencies include the range of agencies that have oversight across the sector, including Ombudsman offices, Auditors General, Public Sector Commissions, Information Commissioners and offices that focus on anti corruption processes, these include: ICAC (NSW), CCC (WA), ICAC (SA), IBAC (Vic), CMC (Qld) and IC(Tas.) and the Australian Government also began developing a National Anti-Corruption Plan in 2011 (Australian Government 2011). As agencies that specialise in scrutinising the behaviour of public figures, they constitute a form of accountability that is integral to the processes of modern democratic practice. While most of the integrity agencies have a broad range of powers, the agencies that address corruption have extensive powers to undertake their investigations; these include: covert investigations, telecommunication intercepts, assumed identities, integrity testing and the authority to search public premises (see for example, The Corruption and Crime Commission Act 2003). For all integrity and oversight agencies however, these powers can result in tensions between the integrity agency, the parliament, the public sector and the broader community. In some cases the tension exists around jurisdiction, such as between police and the integrity agency (Brown and Head 2005); for others, the tensions reside in relationship between parliamentary privilege and the investigative powers of integrity bodies (Sheen 2012); for the broader community however, tensions can result from legislation that authorises the covert intrusion into citizens' lives.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Management and Governance
Publisher: Australasian Study of Parliament Group
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