The Crime and Misconduct Commission (CMC) was formed along with the passage of the Crime and Misconduct Act 2001 (Qld). Its primary responsibility was to oversee enforcement of the laws contained in the Act. The CMC underwent periodic reviews by the Parliamentary Crime and Corruption Committee (PCCC).
In 2012, various duties and responsibilities of the commission were changed and the commission was renamed the Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC).
The changes were brought about to focus the commission on the recognised problems of systemic corruption as well as major criminal activities to aid criminal lawyers in successful prosecutions.
The Scope of the CCC’s Authority
The CCC is primarily referred to as an investigative organisation. In practice though, its tasks also include witness protection, the confiscation of criminal proceeds and intelligence gathering and dissemination among other crime and corruption-related duties.
They also work on public policy in which they advise on the passage of laws relating specifically to crime and corruption. In short, they have a wide-ranging amount of authority and influence.
The scope of their authority comes from the fact that today’s criminal enterprises, such as outlaw motorcycle gangs, undertake both criminal and corrupt activities. The complicated extent of these criminal internal structures has dictated a need for the legal authority to conduct activities aimed at dismantling the criminal organisations.
In 2015 the CCC submitted a report to the PCCC. In this report the CCC stressed that various additional changes needed to be made to the rules, laws and definitions they worked under, to allow them greater latitude in conducting their duties.
These changes included an expansion of their investigative powers, a change in the legal definition of both ‘criminal organisation’ and ‘corrupt conduct’ and an exemption from the need for the attorney-general’s consent to commence with proceedings against money-launderers. These were among twenty-one other recommendations outlined in the report.
Public Perception of the CCC and Their Work
The Queensland public are largely supportive of the reputation and work of the CCC. The recommendations that were contained in the report submitted by the CCC to the PCCC were partially formulated in response to public polls concerning the level of corruption in Queensland.
For example, in 2017, two south-east Queensland mayors were accused of corruption in a case involving campaign finances. They narrowly avoided prosecution by the CCC. The issue that was the deciding factor in the decision not to prosecute was the systemic nature of the rampant corruption.
The CCC Chairman pointed out that until the laws were changed to prevent this type of corruption, the CCC would be hampered in their abilities to fulfil their mission.
The Queensland state government is said to be supportive of the recommendations contained in the CCC’s report as well.
The CCC has the support and resources to perform their duties. What are lacking are the necessary changes to the laws that will allow them to do their job.