Frequently Asked Questions
The ICAC Minister is the Chief Minister. Consequently, the Department of the Chief Minister led the establishment of the Office of the ICAC, supported by an inter-agency working group made up of key staff across various government departments.
As the Office of the ICAC is a completely new NT Government agency, establishment included activities such as:
- development of new legislation (the ICAC Act)
- recruiting the ICAC
- recruiting the Inspector
- recruiting Office of the ICAC staff
- finding suitable office space
- developing the ICAC website
- assisting the ICAC to develop his practice directions and guidelines.
Freedom of Information requests
The Information Act gives you the right to access information held by us.
Before you make an information request, it is important for you to know that the information that we can provide is, as is necessary, limited by the Independent Commissioner Against Corruption Act.
Documents and information, including surrounding reports and investigations, will not be released under Freedom of Information.
We are committed to publishing as much information as possible on our website and through our annual report. You may be able to find the information you need without having to make a Freedom of Information request.
For more information surrounding Freedom of Information requests, refer to the Information Commissioner for the NT’s website.
Do a preparedness health check.
- What policies do we need?
For example, conflicts of interest, fraud control, whistleblowers, handling referrals.
- Do we have policies in place?
If yes, are they up to date?
- What are our operational / resource requirements?
- Who will respond to requests for information and produce documents?
- Who will handle referrals?
- Who will undertake investigations?
- Who will receive reports and respond to recommendations?
- How will you manage whistleblowers or persons being investigated?
- What training do staff require? For example, conflict of interest training, managing confidential information, mandatory reporting, managing whistleblowers / staff under investigation.
What are the key areas to look at?
- Tender/procurement processes and other ‘high risk’ areas for corruption.
- Declaring/managing conflicts of interest.
- Reporting improper conduct:
- training of nominated recipients
- training staff about mandatory reporting obligations
- Responding to investigations:
- Resourcing – who will produce records and respond to adverse findings?
- Do staff understand how to respond to requests for information from the ICAC?
- Do any of our practices and procedures conflict with obligations under the Act?
- Responding to investigations:
- What support (emotional/psychological/legal) will you provide to staff who are suspects/witnesses?
- What processes do you need in place to respond to ICAC requests?
- What is the process and who will respond to adverse findings in reports?
- Are Human Resources sufficiently trained to manage whistleblowers?
- Are managers sufficiently trained to manage a whistleblower and their obligations to respond to the ICAC?
Detailed information regarding the powers of the ICAC can be found here.
The ICAC may, from time to time, be conflicted regarding an investigation. That is, the ICAC may have a personal interest in such an investigation. This would mean that the ICAC is unable to perform his official duties. In such an event, an Acting ICAC will be appointed by the Administrator.
The ICAC Inspector is a part-time statutory appointment that oversees the ICAC. The purpose of the Inspector is to ensure that the ICAC and his Office are acting within their powers under the ICAC Act as part of an ongoing review process.
- evaluation of the ICAC’s performance (including a yearly report on the same)
- receive and deal with complaints about the ICAC or members of the ICAC’s staff
- make recommendations to the ICAC or to public bodies regarding practices or procedures.
The Inspector can also receive and investigate complaints about the ICAC and his Office. Further information about the ICAC Inspector is available on his website. To contact the ICAC Inspector follow this link.
The Inspector is appointed for a period of up to and including five years, and is not eligible for reappointment.
Mr Bruce McClintock SC is the ICAC Inspector for the NT. This is a role he undertakes concurrently with his appointment as Inspector for the New South Wales ICAC.
Since his admission in 1983, and since taking silk in 1996, Mr McClintock has practiced extensively in the areas of commercial law, equity and media law, trade practices law and planning and environment law. Mr McClintock is an experienced Senior Counsel with broad experience in investigations and commissions of inquiry. He has a particular interest in anti-corruption and integrity bodies, their structure and functions, and has written and co-written two key reports relating to the New South Wales ICAC and the legislation under which it operates, including the 2015 report on which recent legislative amendments were based.
Mr McClintock was appointed to the position of Inspector by the Administrator on 28 September 2018 for a period of five years, and formally commenced his role on that date.
Further information about the ICAC Inspector is available on the Inspector's website.
The ICAC must be a person with substantial legal expertise, such as a former Supreme Court judge or a lawyer of 10 years or more standing.
The ICAC must not have a recent political affiliation, which means they must not be someone who has in the last five years been a politician (including at local government level), an office holder or elected representative of a political party, a ministerial staffer, or someone who has made a reportable donation to a political party. If the ICAC holds a role as a public officer at the time of appointment, they must resign from that role.
The ICAC is a completely independent, apolitical statutory appointment. He is completely free from the direction of Government and the public sector. The ICAC has his own staff, but is also able to second staff from other government agencies or to engage contractors.
The Independent Commissioner Against Corruption Act 2017 (the Act) was passed by the Legislative Assembly on 23 November 2017 and commenced on 30 November 2018.
The purpose of the Act is to address improper conduct in public administration. It does so by preventing and curbing improper conduct through the Office of the ICAC and thereby improves public confidence in government.
Importantly, the Act provides built in protections for people who report improper conduct, and who may, as a result, put themselves at risk of retaliation as a result. It also secures the independence and associated freedom from direction of the ICAC and his Office.
The powers given by the Act are in addition to those already existing in other investigating bodies such as the Police, the Auditor-General, the Ombudsman and the Information Commissioner.
The Act sets out that the ICAC and his Office must prioritise investigation of the most serious, systemic and sensitive improper conduct for investigation, as well as making sure all other improper conduct is dealt with appropriately.
The Act vests its powers in the ICAC, who may delegate these powers to authorised officers. Authorised officers may be Office of the ICAC staff, or those contracted or seconded to the Office for specified matters. The ICAC has strict processes in place for any delegations.
The Act is available in full here.
More information on the Act can be found here.
Different parts of the Act cover various aspects of the operations of the ICAC and his office. A summary of this is found below:
|1||Preliminary matters such as definitions – for example, improper conduct, public officer, public body|
|2||Establishment, powers and functions of the ICAC|
|3||Identifying and dealing with improper conduct – mandatory reporting, referrals, audits and reviews, investigations, inquiries, reports and recommendations|
|4||Information gathering powers – entering premises and powers of authorised officers, search warrants, access to confidential information|
|5||Confidentiality and privilege – client legal privilege, parliamentary privilege|
|6||Whistleblower protection and voluntary protected communications|
|7||Administration and enforcement – terms of appointment, staffing and offences|
|8||Miscellaneous matters – protection from liability, service, regulation power|
|9||Repeal and transitional matters relating to the Public Interest Disclosure Act.|
What is the ICAC (Consequential and Related Amendments) Act 2017?
This Act amends a number of other acts in relation to the establishment of the ICAC and the commencement of the ICAC Act. Examples of some of the acts that this Act amends include the:
- Correctional Services Act
- Criminal Code
- Criminal Records (Spent Convictions) Act
- Legislative Assembly (Disclosure of Interests) Act
- Procurement Act
- Police (Special Investigative and Other Powers) Act
- Surveillance Devices Act
- Witness Protection (Northern Territory) Act
- Telecommunications (Interception) Act.
The Act commenced at the same time as the ICAC Act. A full copy can be found here.
The Office of the ICAC is steadfastly committed to and values the privacy of every individual with whom it comes into contact. We are committed to guarding against misuse, loss or unauthorised disclosure in accordance with the Information Act and the Independent Commissioner Against Corruption Act.
The Office of the ICAC collects personal information in the course of its day to day operations. This information is collected at times such as when someone makes a report, applies for employment, or during the course of an investigation.
We use personal information only for the purposes of carrying out our functions under the Act. These include functions such as assessing reports, investigating allegations of improper conduct, gathering intelligence, and conducting research and education activities.
We use, and provide to other persons or organisations, personal information for the purposes that we collected it. However, we may be authorised by law to use or provide personal information for another reason.
The Office of the ICAC stores, transfers, and disposes of all personal information securely and in accordance with privacy legislation.
We takes reasonable steps to ensure that personal information held is accurate, complete and up-to-date.
Individuals may access their personal information held by the Office of the ICAC by making a request under the Information Act.
Not sure where to complain?
The NT Independent Commissioner Against Corruption deals with complaints about improper conduct in public administration in the Northern Territory. There are many other agencies that can accept and deal with complaints about particular government and private sector functions. Even for NT Government and local government complaints, there may be a more appropriate office to deal with your complaint.
It is important that you look through the list below, to see if there is an alternative agency to address issues you are concerned about.
Alternative complaint handling offices
Banking, Financial, Superannuation, Insurance
Financial Ombudsman Service
GPO Box 3, Melbourne, VIC, 3001
1300 780 808
Body Corporate Managers
Deputy Registrar of Land, Business and Conveyancing Agents
Children (services to protected children)
PO Box 40598 Casuarina NT 0811
1800 259 256
Commonwealth government agencies
GPO Box 442, Canberra, ACT, 2601
1300 362 072
LMB 22 GPO, Darwin, NT, 0801
1800 813 846
Employment – general
Fair Work Ombudsman
Employment– NT public sector
Office of the Commissioner for Public Employment
Goods, Services, and Private Businesses
PO Box 40946, Casuarina NT 0811
1800 019 319
Health and Community Services
Health and Community Services Complaints Commission
GPO Box 4409, Darwin NT 0801
1800 004 474
Information Requests and Complaints - Information held by NT government or local government
GPO Box 1344, Darwin, NT, 0801
1800 005 610
Information Requests and Complaints - Information information held by Commonwealth government
Australian Information Commissioner
GPO Box 5218, Sydney NSW 2001
1300 363 992
Law Society Northern Territory
PO Box 2388, Darwin, NT, 0801
Legal Aid Review Committee
Locked Bag 11, Darwin, NT, 0801
PH: 8999 3000
Privacy – complaints about NT or local government
GPO Box 3750, Darwin, NT, 0801
1800 005 610
Privacy – complaints about private sector and Commonwealth government
Australian Information Commissioner
GPO Box 5218 Sydney NSW 2001
1300 363 992
Private Health Insurance
Private Health Insurance Ombudsman
GPO Box 442, Canberra ACT 2601
1300 362 072
Real estate agents, business brokers, conveyancers and auctioneers
Deputy Registrar of Land, Business and Conveyancing Agents
Commissioner for Residential Tenancies
PO Box 40946, Casuarina NT 0811
1800 019 319
Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman
PO Box 276, Collins Street, Melbourne VIC, 8007
1800 062 058
Fair Work Commission
1300 799 675
You may also find the following links helpful:
The ICAC can be suspended or terminated if he:
- becomes physically or mentally incapable of satisfactorily performing his duties
- if he engages in corrupt conduct
- if he engaged in other paid employment without the ICAC Minister’s permission
- if he is absent from duty without the approval of the ICAC Minister and without reasonable excuse for 28 consecutive days or for 42 days within any 12 months.
In such an event, an Acting ICAC will be appointed.
While similar, the ICAC’s powers are much broader than the OCPID.
For example, the ICAC can investigate a much greater range of public bodies and public officers (including private persons or bodies in receipt of government funds), can undertake retrospective investigations on matters that happened in the past, and has own-motion powers which means that he can investigate matters without having to receive a report.
A detailed comparison of the two can be found here.
These documents will form the procedural framework to be followed for matters such as the conduct of investigations and inquiries, referrals and mandatory reporting. The directions and guidelines will support the ICAC, his staff, public bodies, public officers and those in receipt of government monies in meeting their obligations under the ICAC Act.
The ICAC is obligated to prioritise the most serious conduct under section 18(3) of the Act.
He can investigate a wide range of improper conduct of persons / bodies previously outside jurisdiction of ‘watchdog’ bodies. For example, MLA’s, courts, tribunals, independent officers, and persons / bodies in receipt of government monies including contractors and grant recipients.
The ICAC’s investigative powers are stronger than those of the former Commissioner for Public Interest Disclosures. The ICAC:
- can apply for warrants to search private premises, intercept telecommunications, use surveillance devices, assume false identities, conduct controlled operations
- has the power to require information and items from people / agencies for investigations, inspect financial records, and require a person to answer specific questions
- has own motion powers – he does not need to wait for a complaint to start an investigation.
The ICAC also has the flexibility to deal with improper conduct and respond to allegations as he sees fit.
- he can refer specific complaints to a wide range of persons and oversight bodies e.g. MLA – Speaker, Judiciary – Head of Court /Tribunal, Police – Commissioner of Police/Ombudsman
- he has complete discretion whether to pursue an investigation and how to prioritise investigations
- he can conduct public investigations, though the presumption is that they will be private
- investigations can be referred to agencies, and the ICAC can direct how the investigation is to be conducted. However, this does not allow the ICAC to direct an independent body such as Ombudsman, or to direct police except where police misconduct is involved
- the ICAC does not prosecute. He and his staff can prepare briefs for prosecution and present evidence in court. This is a change from the Commissioner for Public Interest Disclosures where investigators are prohibited from giving evidence in court.
The ICAC Act strengthened whistleblower protections in the Northern Territory. For example:
- whistleblowers are protected if they make their complaints to a range of other independent bodies, such as the Ombudsman
- the ICAC has a power to direct a public body to take action to protect a whistleblower without obtaining a Supreme Court order.
The ICAC will issue best practice guidelines for agencies to follow within six months of the ICAC Act commencing.
The ICAC has the following key features and powers:
- The ICAC Act is retrospective. This means that the ICAC can investigate complaints of improper conduct that occurred before the Act’s commencement as far back as 1978, when the Northern Territory was granted self-government
- The ICAC is a completely independent, apolitical statutory appointment. He is completely free from the direction of Government and the public service
- The ICAC has his own staff, but is able to second staff from other government agencies or to engage contractors
- While the ICAC is completely independent, he is not free from oversight. The ICAC is overseen by an Inspector, a further statutory appointment whose role is to provide oversight of the ICAC’s operations as well as receive an investigate complaints about the ICAC
- An Acting ICAC can be appointed if the ICAC is conflicted in a matter being investigated.
The ICAC Act repealed the PID Act and dissolved the OCPID. Investigations staff from within the OCPID transferred to the Office of the ICAC under a machinery of government change. All ongoing investigations were transferred to the ICAC and investigations continued, and all historical OCPID records will become Office of the ICAC records.
Information Commissioner functions related to privacy and freedom of information were transferred to the Office of the Ombudsman under a machinery of government change in August 2018. Ombudsman, Mr Peter Shoyer, now holds the statutory appointments of both the Ombudsman and Information Commissioner concurrently.
The following is a list of important definitions under the Independent Commissioner Against Corruption Act 2017:
Improper conduct (s9)– includes corrupt conduct, misconduct, unsatisfactory conduct and anti-democratic conduct
Corrupt conduct (s10)– conduct engaged in by a public officer or by a public body that is either an offence punishable by a maximum term of imprisonment of at least two years, or conduct which would warrant termination of services (the most serious).
Some examples of improper or corrupt conduct include:
- disclosing confidential information
- misuse of public resources, including fraud
- not disclosing a private interest (in certain cases)
- accepting or requesting a bribe
- falsifying documents, for example to obtain payments.
Misconduct (s11) – breach of a code of conduct by a public officer while acting in his or her capacity as a public officer, for example discrimination, bullying, harassment, assault (less serious).
Unsatisfactory conduct (s12)– negligence, impropriety, illegality, incompetence leading to substantial mismanagement of public resources, or the performance of official functions, or detriment to the public interest (systemic).
Anti-democratic conduct (s15)– electoral offences under the Electoral Act or the Local Government Act affecting the reputation, power, resources or influence of a political party or a candidate. For example, political donations, push polling and improperly influencing voting behaviour.
Under the ICAC Act, the ICAC has the power to impose requirements for the mandatory reporting of improper conduct, whether real or suspected. Guidelines and directions for mandatory reporting must be developed and issued within six months of the ICAC Act commencing. They will outline who what must be reported and how this is to be done.
The ICAC may choose to place different reporting requirements on people or agencies. For example, higher reporting obligations may be placed on persons at senior levels, or on certain agencies who are in unique positions of public trust or are heavily involved in procurement and the distribution of government monies.
The ICAC will keep government and the community informed as he develops these mandatory reporting guidelines which must be in place within six months of the ICAC Act commencing.
The ICAC is the Independent Commissioner Against Corruption, a specialist investigator with a focus on government corruption.
The ICAC is the Chief Executive Officer of his own agency, operating under the Independent Commissioner Against Corruption Act (the ICAC Act). The agency will be known as the Office of the Independent Commissioner Against Corruption.
The Office will be in place once the ICAC Act commences, and the Administrative Arrangements Orders are amended to reflect this at that time.
The ICAC must be a person with substantial legal expertise, such as a former Supreme Court judge or a lawyer of 10 years or more standing. The ICAC must not have a recent political affiliation, which means they must not be someone who has in the last 5 years been a politician (including at local government level), an office holder or elected representative of a political party, a ministerial staffer, or someone who has made a reportable donation to a political party. If the ICAC holds a role as a public officer at the time of appointment, they must resign from that role.
Mr Ken Fleming QC was appointed as the ICAC on 13 June 2018. He commenced his role on 2 July 2018.
Mr Fleming was admitted to practice as a barrister in December 1976 and became a Queens Counsel (QC) in November 1988. He practiced principally in Brisbane, but also in other parts of Australia and the Pacific.
He spent three years with the United Nations prosecuting the Rwandan Genocide. He has practised in both civil law and criminal law, and is vastly experienced in many different aspects of law.
An extract from Mr Fleming’s biography is below:
I have now practiced law for over 41 years, 12 years as a Junior, and 29 years as Queen's Counsel in family, criminal, civil, international, and other national courts.
I have a fundamental and abiding view that the making and administration of law is the vehicle for the proper organisation for society. That embraces the concept of the Rule of Law, which is of practical and every-day application in a peaceful society. Parliament has the responsibility to make laws for the peace, order and good government of its constituency, and courts have the duty to administer those laws, and the common law.
The law is an evolving, living and breathing process designed to be the servant of all people for the proper and beneficial organisation of society. lf particular behaviour challenges, or does not meet the contemporary needs of, society then it has no place in that society.
It follows that I am committed to the proper administration of justice.
There is a move internationally and nationally towards forming integrity bodies such as the Office of the ICAC. This has resulted from an increased recognition that there is a need to address improper conduct in the public sector.
These integrity bodies all have a common purpose to protect public interest, prevent improper conduct within the public sector and guide the conduct of public bodies and public officers.
All integrity bodies share the following key responsibilities:
- receive and investigate allegations of improper conduct within the public sector
- prevent improper conduct through advice and assistance and a focus on compliance culture
- educate the community and public sector about the risks and impacts associated with improper conduct.
All other Australian jurisdictions have their own integrity body, with the exception of the Australian Capital Territory and the Commonwealth.
In August 2015, the NT Legislative Assembly resolved to establish an Anti-Corruption Integrity and Misconduct Commission in the Territory. In December 2015, Brian Martin AO was appointed to conduct an Inquiry into doing so, with the final report delivered in June 2016. More information regarding the Inquiry can be found here.