The proposed CIC will be split in two. At the top tier, a ‘‘law enforcement division’’ will have powers roughly on par with the powerful NSW ICAC. Yet a federal Eddie Obeid would have nothing to fear from this body. Parliamentarians and their staff, along with most of the public service and government-owned corporations, would be outside the law-enforcement division’s remit.
Instead they would be covered only by a much friendlier ‘‘public service division’’ with inferior powers. The second-tier agency would not be able to hold public hearings, which are the only way to guarantee public confidence in the process. The public service division would lack the power to investigate breaches of codes of conduct short of criminal behaviour, such as, for instance, rorting of parliamentary perks.
Just bring on the election and we’ll dispense the justice.