The admission by Andrew McIntosh, minister in charge of setting up the new Independent Broad-based Anti-Corruption Commission (to replace the OPI), has cast doubt on the independence of the so-called “Public Interest Monitor”.
It would mean that potentially, the minister would have knowledge of covert investigations into his political colleagues.
Asked who would brief the Public Interest Monitor, Mr McIntosh said: “Ít will probably be no doubt the minister responsible for the establishment of an anti-corruption commission.
“Or it may be the department. But the reality is, it will be the Government that will do the briefing on this person to appear on behalf of the public interest.”
At that point, the press conference was shut down and Mr McIntosh refused to answer further questions.
Repeated warnings that it is too easy to bug, track and spy on Victorians have apparently been heeded by the Baillieu Government.
The fact every phone tapping application made by Victoria Police and the Office of Police Integrity in the past three years was approved helped persuade the Government a crackdown was needed.
All 1271 applications were granted and only two of a further 423 applications for other surveillance devices have been knocked back since 2007-08.
Concerns held since being in opposition that the OPI's extraordinary powers were not being adequately scrutinised also contributed to the Government's decision to make it tougher to tap telephones and secretly watch Victorians.
It will today introduce legislation to establish a Principal Public Interest Monitor, who will be supported by deputy monitors.
A monitor will be in court every time any agency seeks a covert search warrant or makes an application to bug a telephone or install surveillance equipment, such as tracking or listening devices or hidden cameras.
Monitors, who must be lawyers, will represent the interests of the agency's targets to ensure the use of such intrusive powers is justified.
Mr McIntosh said yesterday the monitor would test the content of the material being relied on by the agency applying for the bugging or other warrant.
"At the hearing, the Public Interest Monitor will be able to ask questions of the applicant and cross-examine witnesses," Mr McIntosh said yesterday.
"The monitor will make submissions to the court on the merits of the warrant application, and any terms and conditions that ought to be imposed.
"Increasing accountability of law enforcement agencies through independent oversight strengthens the fabric of our democratic society and the rule of law, which is why we are establishing the Public Interest Monitor."
Ombudsman George Brouwer this week highlighted a lack of oversight of surveillance powers.
news.com.au 13 Oct 2011
Another fraud set up by the government which is akin to a fox being in charge of the chickens in a chicken coop.
Going to a government institution to lodge a complaint against the government has very little success rate amongst the complainants.
These 'institutions' must be set up in order to give the masses that illusion that they are their for the protection of the general populous.
These institutions are another data collection point for the government to put on file against the complainant.
Another scam set up by the government.