The Commissioner’s position was originally created in 1999, when a new part was added to the Public Sector Ethics Act 1994. Its purpose was to help Ministers and others to avoid conflicts of interest and, in doing so, to encourage confidence in public institutions.
Queensland has had three Integrity Commissioners. They are:
- the Hon. Alan Demack AO (2000-2004) – a former judge of the Supreme Court of Queensland
- Mr Gary Crooke QC (2004-2009) – previous senior counsel assisting the Fitzgerald Inquiry.
- Dr David Solomon AM (2009 – 2014) – a former journalist, who at one stage, chaired the Electoral and Administrative Review Commission and more recently chaired the independent panel that reviewed Queensland’s Freedom of Information laws.
- Mr Richard Bingham (2014 - present) - former South Australian Ombudsman and Secretary of the Tasmanian Department of Justice.
Promoting integrity and accountability in Queensland
In 2009, the government published a green paper on Integrity and Accountability in Queensland. Following the receipt of more than 240 submissions, and after a number of public consultations, the Government decided to introduce a number of significant changes to the existing accountability regime.
The first of these was the introduction of the Integrity Act 2009, which came into force on 1 January 2010.
The Integrity Act transferred and updated the provisions of the Public Sector Ethics Act 1994 concerning the Integrity Commissioner, expanding the Commissioner’s responsibilities in the integrity area.
It also gave legislative backing to the lobbyists register, which had been created administratively in 2009. It extended the reach of the register beyond people lobbying the Queensland Government to cover lobbyists engaged in lobbying local government and banned success fees for lobbyists.
Finally, it transferred responsibility for the register from the Department of the Premier and Cabinet to the Integrity Commissioner.
On 20 September 2010 Parliament passed the Integrity Reform (Miscellaneous Amendments) Act 2010 (the amending Act). The amending Act amends the ethics and integrity aspects of a number of Acts, including the Integrity Act 2009. The amendments to the Integrity Act came into force on 1 November 2010.
The Integrity Act has also been amended by the Ministerial and Other Office Holder Staff Act 2010. The amendments merely indicate a change in the legislative arrangements under which ministerial and other office holder staff are employed and do not affect the operation of the Integrity Act.