Thursday 15th October 2020
2 minute read
IBAC Commissioner, The Honourable Robert Redlich AM, QC, has made the strongest calls yet for adequate government resourcing of Victoria’s Independent Broad Based Commission against Corruption (IBAC).
In his message released this morning,(15/10/2020) Redlich says “It is deeply concerning that IBAC’s budget has remained largely static since we were founded. This means that today IBAC cannot investigate a significant number of complaints of serious misconduct which may warrant our investigation.”
He continues: “I need to be clear; without additional funding from 2021, IBAC will not be able to maintain current services and its capacity to expose and prevent corruption will be further curtailed and significantly impacted.”
This is of enormous concern to people throughout Victoria who have made or tried to make complaints about police misconduct.
It is vital the IBAC have the capacity, skilled staff and resourcing required to hold Victoria Police accountable for human rights abuses, misconduct or acts of corruption – its the very least we should expect from our anti-corruption body.
For the past two years the Andrews government has been sitting on an important report that recommends IBAC independently investigate most allegations serious police corruption and misconduct.
This bipartisan report made 69 significant recommendations to improve the transparency, impartiality, effectiveness and efficiency of how allegations of police misconduct are dealt with. They determined that serious police misconduct could not be left to the police to investigate and that probes should instead be conducted by Victoria’s corruption watchdog – IBAC. It has taken Victorian legal centres, community agencies, human rights organisations, families and many individual victims of police violence many years of campaigning and advocacy to get to this point.
The government was supposed to respond to the report within six months.
Publicly, the Andrews government has claimed it is “carefully considering the IBAC Committee’s 69 recommendations” and is waiting on the recommendations from the Royal Commission into the Management of Police Informants (Informer X) which have now been delayed until 30 November 2020.
The family of Auntie Tanya Day, a Yorta Yorta women who died in police custody have been calling strongly for independent and non-police investigations in Aboriginal deaths in custody.
A motion calling for called upon the government to increase IBAC funding and powers passed unopposed through the upper house in March 2020 and was actively supported by the cross-bench parties including the Greens and Reason Party.
Now it the time for Premier Andrews to finally provide IBAC with the resourcing and powers to investigate serious police misconduct and police-contact deaths. Parliament has been calling for it, IBAC is calling for it and the people of Victoria have been calling for it.
There are simply no more excuses on police accountability Premier Andrews.
The Police Accountability Project estimates that only a tiny percentage of Victoria Police’s massive $3.5 billion budget would be required to run a fully resourced, well-staffed, independent investigative division within IBAC.
Victoria needs a system that has enough clout and resources to effectively and rapidly investigate police abuse and police-contact deaths, is publicly transparent, supports and includes victims and their families and is truly independent.
A detailed backgrounder ‘How close is Victoria to finally getting independent investigations?’ can be found here.
The indepth investigative report below was aired in October 2019 and is well worth a re-watch.
IBAC calls for more powers, resources to monitor police misconduct, Cam Houston, The Age, 24 November 2019
Victoria’s corruption watchdog has conceded it lacks resources to properly investigate police corruption and misconduct and has called on the Andrews government to beef up its oversight powers.
IBAC is doing its job and should be funded to keep on delivering, Colleen Lewis, The Age Opinion 26 December 2019
“In relation to police, the considerable political power exercised by police unions and police commissioners is an influencing factor, with their wishes taking precedence over the needs of an independent anti-corruption body.
Given the highly disturbing revelations from the “Lawyer X” royal commission and from several IBAC reports relating to police behaviour, it is not unreasonable to expect a swift and positive response by the government. Surely it is not waiting for even more disturbing findings before it grants IBAC what it requires to be even more effective.”
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