The Board of the Commission determined to undertake an investigation in February 2019. This followed meetings with the Tasmanian Electoral Commission, Tasmania Police and the Director of Public Prosecutions.
The investigation was to focus on policies, practices and procedures under which funding is provided to community groups, by examining conduct during the 2018 State election. The grounds for the investigation involved possible conduct or systemic issues concerning the scale of the election commitments and whether the process for determining recipients were sufficiently transparent.
The investigation also was to consider the existing powers of the Tasmanian Electoral Commissioner, and whether the Electoral Commissioner should have additional powers.
In accordance with our standard procedural fairness processes, a draft investigation report was provided to relevant parties for comment in July 2020. Some parties received the full report, while others received redacted versions or limited extracts.
The procedural fairness responses raised various jurisdictional, scope and content issues which were carefully considered by the Board of the Commission. The Board obtained independent legal advice on particular points of law and the extent of the investigation in relation to its terms of reference, and concluded that the investigation could not be finalised under the existing terms of reference.
The Board revoked its original determination to conduct the investigation on 15 April 2021. This means the draft investigator’s report will not be finalised and the matter will not proceed to the Board for a determination under section 58 of the Integrity Commission Act 2009.
The Board has considered how it might progress the matter, including changing the terms of reference. Ultimately, the Board decided that it would not be in the public interest to commit further resources to re-investigate the matter, noting that, to that stage, no misconduct had been identified.
The Board is however considering whether the policy and procedures elements of the original investigation may be explored through other means, such as a research report produced under section 31 of the Act.
Michael Easton, Chief Executive Officer
Ph: 1300 720 289