Former NT Bar Association president John Lawrence told Sky News Australia he does not believe the public has “any faith or confidence” in the office’s effectiveness.
Sky News presenter Sharri Markson says the New South Wales ICAC has “destroyed too many careers”. Ms Markson’s comments come after the national anti-corruption commission was opened in Canberra, with Labor vowing the body would not be political.
“That office is incompetent, extremely incompetent, and I don’t think anyone in the public has any faith or confidence in its effectiveness,” former NT Bar President John Lawrence SC told Sky News.
Last week, the NT Independent revealed that CLP member and party operative Cormac MacCarthy had been hired by the Office of the Independent Anti-Corruption Commissioner.
Following criticism of the appointment, Commissioner Michael Riches wrote to Ms Fyles on Saturday recommending that the ICAC Act be amended to prevent the employment of people with recent political affiliations.
When asked about the matter, Ms Fyles said: “It is worrying and we are looking at legislation to ensure that someone who has recently had political connections should not be in that kind of position.”
Ms Fyles said that judges, for example, cannot have been members of a political party for 10 years prior to their appointment.
“I think that the independent bodies that are created must have and need the perception of independence,” he said.
Mr. Lawrence has previously raised concerns about conflicts of interest within the ICAC office.
These included the appointment of Matthew Grant, the brother of Chief Justice Michael Grant, as deputy commissioner.
And the award of lucrative investigative contracts to former South Australian police officer David McGinlay, the boyfriend of then O/ICAC director of investigations Kate Kelly.
“This office has been plagued with prior conflicts of interest that they have simply ignored, and now conflict of interest almost doesn’t seem to exist, and it’s a very important principle because it ensures fairness, fairness and transparency,” Lawrence said. .
The government previously commissioned Greg Shanahan, former executive director of the Department of Attorney General and Justice, to conduct a review of the ICAC Act.
Ms Fyles did not commit to publishing Shanahan’s review, but said she would receive advice on whether parts of it could be made public.
Lawrence said the review should “absolutely” be published.
However, he questioned the appointment of Mr. Shanahan to conduct the review, since he had been involved in drafting the original ICAC Act.
“The fact that he was given the task of looking at the body that he eventually created is totally inappropriate. He has, wait, a conflict of interest,” Lawrence said.