COMMENT

Clayton Barr's 'Raising the Barr' | ICAC: Report too much, rather than too little

Member for Cessnock, Clayton Barr
Member for Cessnock, Clayton Barr

For 400,000 public servants across NSW, they have a duty to report possible corrupt conduct (ie: using public office to bring about personal gain). It might be that they are paid with a free leg of ham at Christmas time, or a paid carpark to use free of charge as they choose or perhaps even some type of cash payment.

Under the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) Act, a public servant in NSW is prohibited from using their position, as a public employee, to gain personal benefit. This is referred to as corrupt conduct, or more simply, corruption. The responsibility to report, known as a "duty", is found in the ICAC Act at Part 3 (11) under the heading "Duty to notify Commission of possible corrupt conduct".

A public servant would have to report possible corrupt conduct even if it were a first-year apprentice who believed their boss was involved in the suspicious behaviour, or whether it was two best mates that had grown up together, or whether it was people who only met each other on very rare occasions. The spirit of ICAC law is all about proactively doing the right thing; reporting too much rather than reporting too little.

As a Member of Parliament I am very clear about my responsibility to report possible corrupt behaviour, be that behaviour that is from a person that is friend or foe.

ICAC exists for the very singular purpose of receiving information about possible corrupt conduct and then investigating that information. If no one reports, then ICAC doesn't need to exist. Public servants simply must report anything that makes them feel uncomfortable or uncertain about a fellow colleague's conduct.

A HSC YEAR LIKE NO OTHER

As our Year 12 students head into the 2020 Higher School Certificate it is an understatement, but important to note, that their final year of school has been disrupted.

I wish all students and their families the very best over the next couple of weeks as the HSC unfolds.

But my annual message is that the HSC is not the be all and end all of your life journey.

What is far more important than the HSC that you are about to sit is a commitment to lifelong education.

Beyond this year you will need to keep learning, keep educating yourself and keep broadening your horizons by seeking out new information and listening to those who know things that you don't.

Clayton Barr is the State MP for Cessnock. Contact his office via claytonbarr.com.au.

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