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What is ICAC?

Unless you turned off the internet for a few days, you’ve probably heard that Gladys Berejiklian resigned as NSW Premier amid an ICAC investigation. But what exactly is ICAC, and its powers and responsibilities? 

ICAC = Independent Commission Against Corruption

ICAC is an independent agency that investigates corrupt activities within the public sector. In NSW, it has three principal functions, including: 

  • Investigate and expose corrupt conduct in the NSW public sector
  • Actively prevent corruption through advice and assistance
  • Educate the NSW community and public sector about corruption and its effects 

What happened with NSW ICAC and Berejiklian?

Berejiklian resigned from her position after ICAC publicly announced it would investigate the former Premier for potentially breaching public trust during her relationship with former MP Daryl Maguire. In 2018, Maguire resigned from Parliament after he was accused of trying to connect Sydney property developers with a large Chinese firm for a personal profit. 

Last year, during an ICAC inquiry into Maguire’s conduct, it was revealed that Berejiklian had been in a five-year “personal relationship” with him. ICAC is now turning its attention to investigating whether Berejiklian helped Maguire achieve a corrupt deal or was aware of corruption but did nothing about it.

Is there an ICAC at a federal level? 

No, however, this has been a point of discussion for a long time. In 2018, Prime Minister Scott Morrison promised to establish a ‘Commonwealth Integrity Commission’, which would act as a federal ICAC. Eventually, a proposal was made by Attorney-General at the time Christan Porter last year. There has been little progress since then. Labor, the Greens and the crossbench are likely to make this point a major focus at the next election.

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