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Lawyers get involved on anti corruption

Lawyers get involved on anti corruption

Victorian lawyers have jumped on the newly announced review of the state's anti corruption bodies, saying the issue of "secretive power" needs to go under the microscope.

VICTORIAN lawyers have jumped on the newly announced review of the state’s anti corruption bodies, saying the issue of “secretive power” needs to go under the microscope.

Victorian Premier john Brumby said he has an open mind about the review, which will examine organisations such as the Ombudsman, the Auditor-General, and the Office of Police Integrity.

Brumby said the aim is to make sure the system is working as efficiently as possible.

Meanwhile, Opposition leader Ted Baillieu said the state needs an independent, broad-based anti corruption commission.

The Law Institute of Victoria said today that while it supports a review of the various investigatory bodies and their powers, it believes ICAC does not need to get involved.

A review of Victoria’s anti corruption bodies should also examine whether they had too much secretive power, according to the Law Institute of Victoria.

LIV president Danny Barlow called on the State Government to consult widely during the review, including seeking the views of the legal profession about necessary checks and balances.

He said the LIV supported a review of Victorian various investigatory bodies and their powers but did not see the need for an ICAC at this stage.

“We have been concerned for some time that some powers are excessive, such as the Ombudsman’s ability to deny people legal representation when they are being interviewed,” Barlow said.

Barlow said the LIV Council had early this year passed a resolution supporting a review of corruption bodies and advised the State Government, Liberal and National Parties.

The LIV Council considered the issue of whether Victoria needs an ICAC at its August meeting. It decided that there was not a need to support ICAC for Victoria at this stage, Barlow said.

The LIV Council has recommended a comprehensive, independent review of current crime and corruption bodies and legislation in Victoria. It said the review should be independent, and be consistent with the Victorian Charter of Human Rights.

“In our rush to investigate corruption, we must not trample on human rights, which include the right to independent legal advice,” Barlow said.


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