IBAC needs more powers to investigate public sector and politicians, following Ombudsman report

Australian Greens

The Victorian Greens have said the state’s anti-corruption watchdog should be given broader powers to investigate breaches of the codes of conduct governing ministers, MPs and public servants following the release of the Ombudsman’s report tabled earlier today.

The report examined the politicisation of the public sector, and found there had been an overuse of direct appointments often involving former ministerial staffers, and that executives were fearful of providing ‘frank and fearless’ advice.

It also found that public officials were at times marginalised when it came to key projects.

Victorian Greens integrity spokesperson, Dr Tim Read, said it was clear Labor had increasingly privatised and outsourced the state’s public sector, emaciating its independence and expertise, and politicising what was left.

The Greens support all four of the Ombudsman’s main recommendations, which are designed to strengthen the independence of the public service and give job security to executives, enabling them to speak out when required.

Giving the Ombudsman power to see otherwise confidential Cabinet documents would provide further reassurance against the politicisation of the public service.

As stated by Victorian Greens integrity spokesperson, Dr Tim Read:

“For years Labor has privatised and outsourced Victoria’s public sector, and it’s everyday Victorians who have both literally and figuratively paid the price.

“When the public sector is politicised and gutted of independence and expertise, we get poorer government policies and services, and more waste.

“To tackle this, we must give senior public servants more independence and job security so they call out misguided policy, making it harder for governments to launch expensive and misguided projects.

“We also need enforceable laws that stop the revolving door between MPs, advisers and lobbyists, and a state government that is genuinely committed to parliamentary accountability and Westminster conventions.”

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